Writing

Edge

Edge

There is a precipice at the edge of sanity.
Cold, hard and sharp
it stretches out a panoramic view,
a brilliant abyss.
Dragons dance and demons whisper
sweet and warm,
secrets of
damning
delight.
Strings, then threads are cut
with a witless edge.
Weaving time without a hem.
The silence calls, beckons,
invites the comfort of
oblivion.
So simple to take the step —
a leap of bounds,
letting
go.

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The Essay I Should Have Written

UnknownA cold, miserable mist greeted me when I walked out into the evening after my last semester final. The kind of mist that doesn’t quite call for an umbrella and yet leaves you damp by the time you get where you are going no matter the distance traveled. It fit my mood perfectly and summed up the semester quite well: all wet.

It really bothers me that I have not performed well, especially in this anthropology course on identity, despite knowing that there have been some extenuating circumstances involved – work issues, home issues, health issues – and as only my closest of closest’s know, identity can be a challenging subject for me. But I also know that I made some poor choices in the past fifteen weeks. All came back to haunt me this afternoon.

Given the choice of two out of five or six questions, we were to write complete essays integrating the information we gleaned from the course and our supposed intellectual interpretation of said information. I say supposed because, at least in my instance, my intellect fled from my brain as soon as I began to read the questions.

The questions weren’t difficult, really just slight variations on things we had discussed in class. What was lacking was my ability to form a single cohesive unit of thought. We had two hours to give back any indication we understood the course work. It took me an hour and a half to write the first piece of drivel and the remaining half hour to slather my paper with the second piece of nonsense. I cried on the way home, whether in frustration, relief or shame I cannot say.

Bashert, bless her non-cooking soul, had made matzah ball soup while I was off torturing myself. It was a welcome balm to my aching ego, as was the time spent relaxing on the couch with her and Yoda just watching a mystery show together. It gave me space to breathe and mull over what had occurred during the final. It gave me a chance to get my thoughts in order and think about what I would have written had my brain been in working order.

One of the choices in the questions given was to state three things you have learned about your identity through this course. This is the essay that I should have written.

Identity is a nebulous thing. It tends to defy definition because there are so many ways to define it. When researching information about my term paper, I found that Toon van Meijl attempted to define identity as “a kind of nexus at which different constructions of self coincide, and sometimes also collide”. Identity is who you are, but also who you are taught to be and who you are ascribed to be. Identity is fluid and changeable, yet fixed and determined. That is what I have learned this semester.

In my parents’ home I am the third child and youngest daughter, sister to my siblings; immutable non-choices, determined by my parents’ genetics and timing. In my own home, I am Mom; I am now daughter and mother. Two of my identities have coincided and collided. I exist in the context of both constructs.

In my spousal relationship, I am wife and not-wife, to corrupt a phrase used by Serena Nanda in her article, “Men and Not-Men”. The hegemony in which I reside still does not fully accept the identity marker of wife for my partnership in life. Since I live in a domestic partnership and have the sex designation of female, it is customary to identify my role as “wife”, but in my domestic partnership, the other is not male. Here a different construction collides. Because of my sexuality, I am not wife, but I am not husband.

Along the same lines is my gender identity; gender, as we have been taught, being the cultural interpretation of physical appearance. Because of agreements to societal changes over the years in the Western cultural structure in which I reside, I am able to utilize my own agency and choose to not wear clothing typically interpreted for people who have a feminine gender. But because those societal changes did not necessarily encompass a change in the central meaning of the generalized concepts of what masculine and feminine connote in our society, my choice of attire and even hairstyle creates yet another identity when seen from another social worldview.

In my place of work, I occupy multiple spaces. I am employee, boss, trainer, acquaintance and friend. In school, I am student, but designated as other since I do not fit the cultural profile of the typical college student. In my religious sphere, I am Jewish to the outside faiths, but may not be considered as such by those Jews whose worldview is much more orthodox than mine.

At my own nexus of self, I am all of the above and more. I identify as artist, writer, political agnostic, curmudgeon and nice person. How I see myself may not be the way another will or can view me. If I have learned anything in the time spent through this course is that identity is a process, a state of being that is always fixed and always in flux, determined not only by the institution in which we reside, but also by the resistance and agency we as individuals choose to apply.

…and my mother thanks you…

Whilst lying abed and nursing my first winter cold and frankly hiding from the Yoda sleepover leftovers, I caught up on a couple of blog messages sitting in my emails.  One of these was from awkwardeldon.com, in which he admits that he is remiss in acknowledging the blog awards he received.

This brought to mind the Versatile Blogger Award nomination that Hotoffthewire.com presented me with back in November.

Doing what I like to do, I researched this award.  Can’t be too sure on the internet, you know.  Turned out it’s a real thing passed about the blogosphere. Not everyone out there is impressed or flattered with this prize, but I am.  A total stranger appreciated my words and passed the award my way.  It wasn’t as if my friend from down the way said, “Hey, I’ll nominate you, if you nominate me.”  I think its rather neat.

Now, I’m not so naive not to know that these awards are also used to drum up business for other bloggers.  But isn’t that what we are here for in the first place, to be read?  And if someone takes the time to notice my little blog then I should take the time to acknowledge that fact.

I let the nomination fall by the wayside because I didn’t have enough information on other bloggers to recommend the 15 that are suggested in the nomination “rules”.  But after sticking this out for a few months and stalking around and joining the Weekly Photo Challenge, I’ve found kindred souls and some not-so kindred souls who make my reading and viewing pleasure more enjoyable, if not challenging.

So here it goes – according to the rules:

To fulfill the nomination, the nominee must:

  1. Give credit to the person who nominated you and create a link to their blog in your post (coming up so watch for it!).
  2. Create a list of 15 blogs that you enjoy most and link to those as well. You must then tell those bloggers you have nominated them for the award. If you don’t have 15, you can’t do this step. If you can’t do this step, you can’t claim the award.
  3. Finally, you must create and post a list of seven things about yourself.

Forgive me please of you are one of the bloggers I found that prefer not to partake.  Just know that I nominate you in kind because I’ve found your site interesting, humorous, insightful and/or thought provoking:

  1. Thanks to Kelly Thompson of www.hotoffthewire.com for the nomination.  Sorry it took so long to acknowledge.
2. The LIST:

(For no other reason than being the first 15 in order of my Blogs I Follow list)

  1. Bashert – www.bashert04.com –  My lovely and creative life partner.  Her photos are beautiful.
  2. The Pamela Chronicles – http://pamelamarie.wordpress.com- A newish friend met through Bashert.  Premiere archivist and genuinely sweet person.
  3. Publikworks – http://publikworks.wordpress.com – Dry, funny, witty.  Makes the everyday a little bit better to take.
  4. The Laughing Housewife – http://thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com – The first blog I ever “liked”.  A funny, british lady who’s in love with the British version of Whoppers.  Great jokes to have a laugh, groan or borrow.
  5. Janine/Shambolic Living – http://shambolicliving.wordpress.com – A wonderful blog I found through the weekly photo challenge. I stayed for the writing.
  6. Margie – http://latebloomerbuds.wordpress.com- Wonderful photos, full of colour and texture.
  7. Northern Narratives – http://northernnarratives.wordpress.com – Photos and words from where it’s really cold.
  8. Max Adams – http://celluloidblonde.wordpress.com – Sundries across the gamut.  I never know what might pop up and get me thinking.
  9. Straight Guy in the Queer Skies – http://brianeasley.wordpress.com/ – Interesting tales of a straight airline steward.
  10. Spectra – http://spectrumwoman.com/ – She had me at her “other incarnation” photo.
  11. Becoming Cliche – http://becomingcliche.wordpress.com/ – A wonderfully humorous, if somewhat bumpy ride on the pathways of life.
  12. Eldon – http://awkwardeldon.com/ – The guy who reminded me about this. You just have to read.
  13. FrizzText – http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/ – Interesting conglomeration of thoughts, photography and guitar.  How ‘bout that for a combination?
  14. Susie & Amy – http://insatiablebooksluts.wordpress.com/ – Just what they say they are right up front.  Any site that promotes reading and uses 1940’s pin up art is okay in my book.
  15. Dan/a LEGO a day – http://legomyphoto.wordpress.com/ – A fun must for anyone who loves their LEGOs with a pinch of humor.
Seven things about me:
  1. I was the fastest typist in my 8th grade typing class; 56 wpm.  Typing, not keyboarding – you know…clack, clack, clack…bing!
  2. I once held hands with Leif Erickson (the actor, not the viking).
  3. If I developed a vice that would be the end of me, it would probably be gambling – Vegas and I did not part ways as friends.
  4. I have a small collection of playing cards, baseball caps and elephants.  It’s one hell of a poker night.
  5. I missed graduating from college (the first time) with Cum Laude by 1/100th of a point. A very sore 1/100th of a point, indeed.
  6. I have not worn a dress since 1995. And truth be told, it was actually a skirt that my divorce attorneys made me wear.  They thought it would make me look more feminine in court.  Ever see a steel worker in drag?  That was me.
  7. I wrote my one and only fan letter to Bobby Sherman in 1969. I understand he is a very nice man, who works in the California emergency services industry now.  I still have his greatest hits on my iPod.  Well, some of the greatest hits, well…okay, one song – Julie Do You Love Me.  Eight year old me and 50 year old me don’t exactly have the same appreciation for his music.

Okay, there you go. Rules fulfilled and compliment acknowledged.  Thank you for welcoming me into the sphere.

Poetry Corner II

Drittland

(Third Country)

There is just one life for each of us: our own. ~ Euripides

A question is asked again and again:

Boy or girl?  They have a bet.

Crushing

Derision

Explicit contempt

Forget not the question

Girl or boy?  They have a bet.

Heartbreak matters not

In queries such as these.

Judgments are finite

Kept measured and clean.

License to question

Mercenary manifest

Naive, noxious and nasty.

Oh, boy, oh, girl what a bet.

Pomposity perpetuates the pain.

Quell the

Rising recreant need

Safeguard the system

To which they are married.

Unabridged umbrage is taken.

Vituperate the void!

When no answer is shaken.

Xenophobia demands an explanation.

You must answer.

Zealots command. They have a bet.

Poetry Corner I

Edge

There is a precipice at the edge of sanity.

Cold, hard and sharp

it stretches out a panoramic view

of a brilliant abyss.

Dragons dance and demons whisper

sweet and warm.

Strings, then threads are cut

with a witless edge.

Weaving time without a hem.

The silence calls, beckoning,

inviting the comfort of

oblivion.

So simple to take the step-

a leap of bounds,

letting

go.

Post a Week

Okay, I’ve signed up for the Post a Week Challenge from WordPress.

I could have taken up the gauntlet and tried my hand at the Post a Day, but the commitment factor was too intimidating with school starting next week.  Once a week I can handle, she says with confidence.

So here’s to taking up the mighty pen, eh, keyboard and fighting to overcome writer’s block, time constraints, bad grammar and lack of content! En garde!

Tarzan and the Art of Communication

Tarzan. The name conjures up a wide variety of images doesn’t it?

My favorite is of Johnny Weissmuller standing on the fabled escarpment in his loincloth.  But this is not about fighting alligators, saving Jane or looking really good in animal skins. No, something entirely different.

While Tarzan is a fictional character (to most), there is no denying he holds true command of the world he lives in and frankly, I admire the way he had to learn the secrets of the jungle world in order to survive.

Millions of words are used every day, but only a portion of them are put together simply and directly enough to get their true meaning across.  Tarzan spoke and was understood.  This could be a lesson for us all.

Tarzan was a man of few words.  Tarzan was a man who didn’t know a whole lot of words.  But he was able to become Lord of the Jungle with the simple vocabulary he possessed before gaining an extensive British education.

How?

He used direct, specific and simple language to rule the jungle he presided

over.  He called it as he saw it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Tarzan always cut right to the chase of the matter.  In his world, there was no time for misdirection or misunderstanding.  When you are wrestling with your despotic, great ape, step-father Kerchak, you can’t take the time to state:

“Please, my elephantine friend would you be so kind as to throw my recently stone sharpened, seven inch dagger in my approximate vicinity?”

Nope.  You’ve got to state it directly, “Tantor, knife!”

You will note that Tarzan is also very specific without being verbose. (A challenge of mine for sure.)

In the novel, Tarzan the Ape Man, there is a note written to the would-be squatter in Tarzan’s house on the beach. (I have p.c.’d it a bit. ERB wasn’t known for his outstanding feminism or race relations.)

“This is the house of Tarzan, killer of beasts.  Do not harm the things which are Tarzan’s.  Tarzan watches.”

The note reveals in no uncertain terms that the house belongs to Tarzan, who will probably kill you if you mess with his stuff.  And to make sure nothing happens, he adds the unveiled threat that he is going to be watching to make sure nothing does!

You can’t get much more specific and direct than that.

The simplicity of Tarzan’s message is self evident.  His language is simple and clear.  He doesn’t overload his audience with extraneous details, be it jungle or urban animal.

If he needs a knife, that’s what he asks for.  If he doesn’t want you on his territory, that’s what he tells you.

Try this – read the statement and then translate it to its most common phrasing.  Answers will be at the bottom.

  1. “May I please have the distinct pleasure of escorting you out to the floor so that we may ambulate in rhythmic time to the melodious sounds emanating from the gathered musicians?”
  2. “Two siblings traversed a local geographic land mass to retrieve a cylindrical container filled with the potable liquid confined within the walls of a manmade, hollow depression located at the apex of said mass.”
  3. “I would like to initiate an invitation for you to join me in entering my personal vehicle of transportation powered by a combustable gasoline engine, so that we may voyage about the general surrounding areas.”

Fun, huh?

So while Tarzan may not inspire you chuck it all and go running amok through the jungle, you do have to admit he was a leader who proved that a direct, specific and simple message is often the best approach in a complicated and competitive world.

He did after all manage to conquer the jungle, lead a nation and get the girl, without wasting time or confusing the issue.

Answers:

  1. “Wanna dance?”
  2. “Jack & Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.”
  3. “Let’s go for a ride.”

Bravery

I think with age comes a certain amount of bravery.  Not necessarily the kind that will carry one through battle or make one suddenly go bungee jumping, but a kind that allows for a certain new approach to life.  My Mom always said once you reach a certain age, you just don’t give a damn about some things anymore.  I believe I’m reaching that age.

My sister can’t fathom that I am on Facebook.  I am notoriously private and shy.  But I’ve decided in my approaching advanced age, that if I can’t take a few chances then I’m not really in the world.

So, in light of that declaration these last few days before I have to return to work I’ve been doing some writing and daring to publish it on my tiny little blog.

I can’t figure out how to get more than one at at time published on one page, so I’ll leave one up and then change it out in a couple of days.  I’ll also publish friends and family if they will give permission.  So, I bravely ask that you check out the Writings page.

And also check out the photos page, there’s a great image done there!