Friday, June 24, 2016

To be

My reading selection nowadays is made up of people I meet. It is a good way to choose books from the multitude of reading material available. I sat with some writers and shared my method of choosing books. The part that got a bitter comment was that I go to a thrift shop and buy books. I buy them at yard sales too.
I'll read the Gary Jones book first. These are the books I
purchased at the writing conference. It is a nice mix.

That thrift shop is Happy Hour Service Center which is a workshop for the developmentally disabled which my older brother proudly attends. The proceeds are used to pay for dental care and other necessities for clients in which funds are not available. So any money or donations I give is for a very good cause. I do believe in donating locally for that reason.

It doesn't bother me when my donation is used for a salary. But a higher percentage goes to clients than these charities that seem to send you a request by the day. One time I went to see Billy Graham and made the mistake of making a donation by check. The event was free but the auditorium wasn't and I wanted to pay my part. Well you guessed it, I was inundated with requests for money from them.

My preferred book is nonfiction. The writer who made the comment wrote women's fiction, i.e. romance. I only read romance and science fiction when I know the author or someone recommends it to me. Otherwise, I don't read much of either. I like nonfiction and literary fiction. I felt the writer's pain in saying her book was probably in there. My mind said loudly, "I would only read your book if you were being more positive." Luckily, she could not hear that.

This goes back to reading used books. I'm sure she reads them too. I like the fact that they are pre-selected. When I see an old dog eared book, I check it out. If it was worth reading and underlining, you know it may be a great read. I love reading old out of print books. I have some from the 1800's.

My current desire is to read Shakespeare. There is so much out there to read. It is always have you read so and so. There are so many people to read, my mind spins. But this is not where I reference Hamlet's soliloquy. It is about an attitude I have.

A teacher wanted me in high school to join her work-study program. I was fairly smart and more importantly, well behaved. My mom wanted me to take the secretarial courses so I could qualify for a job. I have never regretted the two years of typing I took. It made me a better typist and I learned a lot about the world of business writing.

In wanting me to join her program, she said, "People like you don't go to college." It really cut me to the bone. Mostly because I already knew I was a member of the great unwashed. I knew it in elementary school. So I went to college.

I was glad I was not a complainer. That very teacher was my dad's water aerobics buddy later on. I still felt the rub with her. She recognized me and asked how my friend who accepted the comment and entered her program. I will say my friend was smarter and much better behaved than I. That particular teacher's own daughter did not go to college. Little did she know she made that man in the pool very happy. My dad had wanted me to go to college.

At the writing conference, the reviewer of my screenplay told me it was confusing and he couldn't follow it. I don't know if it was the screenplay or the synopsis. I was expecting him to do the talking and he kept wanting me to summarize it real quick and I just got tongue tied. It was a rambling, hellacious discussion which was thankfully short. My only beef is that I got no direction to work with. So I plan to sit down with some friends and do a table read and get their opinions.

I also think, do I want to waste my money on a pipe dream. I think a college education paid off. However, entering that work-study program would have been good too. So it puts me with the to be or not to be idea. What a bummer.

This is Hamlet's soliloquy.

To be, or not to be: that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep:
No more: and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die. to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life:

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes

When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear
To grunt and sweat under a weary life
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all:
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action, -- Soft you now?

The fair Orphelia! Nymph, in they orisons
Be my sins remember'd.

Friday, June 17, 2016

What kind of pine tree are you?

Well the week has gone quickly and my regular Friday post has not been written. I kept musing poetically this evening as I drove from my home in central Georgia to St. Simons Island on the Atlantic coast. There is a piece of each scenery which is so familiar and rustic. Which leads me to think, which pine tree would I be.

Rows and rows of tree farms,the silvery backsides of some errant deciduous tree would be in the fold of pines. Sooner of later, they will burn the forest to get rid of competing plants in addition to excessive fuel for fire. There is a point where there is so much fuel that the a wildfire would burn so hot that it would kill the trees.

Farming is doing well. It is hot as hades outside but the plants love it.

This past weekend has been a big turning point for me. I won't say I grew up poor. I grew up with limited resources and uncertainty. It made me an independent person. I've never been able to relax and put my fate in someone else's hands.

I've never been stingy. I tip. I pay service people what they ask. But I am thrifty. I find a plastic bag that can serve as a trash can liner, I use that bag. I dilute my shampoo to make it last longer. I cook an extra piece of meat for dinner to divvy up between my dogs. Fortunately the sixty pound ones see their small piece is the same size as the others and don't complain.  

Where am I going with all of this?

What kind of pine tree am I.

Am I the stray one in a field that has survived a cutting the past year. I'm most definitely not one of the young ones in a row. I would have wanted to be one of those at one time. I am a conformist. I like to be in the norm. I guess I am one of the older trees in a row. I would have liked to have been the sole pine that was about ten feet taller than the rest. It's limbs wresting in the wind and looked remarkably like a cartoon character moving in place. But I've never liked being the center of attention, so that one is not me.

I forgot my nightgown, so I am sleeping in the closest thing I have to being a t-shirt. I do have a big housecoat. It is that official point of relaxation that I am missing with not having my nightgown. At home, I wear some loose fitting pants and a shirt in case I have to get up in the middle of the night for some reason.

I am the caregiver of three people I love. None of them are a big burden. What I offer most is my time and haphazard cooking ability. I made a pot of spaghetti, salad and cooked some small loaves of bread from the grocery store before I left. I know a lot of their meals will be the weight watcher frozen meals, soup, cereal and easy to make food. My mother has the spirit to cook a lot of food but not the energy. And she is on a salt free diet which limits her desire to eat.

A man who is ten years younger than me died of lung cancer last week. I knew him from walking up and down an area of my hometown. One time, I came close to giving him money because something did not add up to his having a home. But a car drove up with a woman around my age. He looked peeved from having to wait and headed for the car.

What I did notice was his hair was cut, his clothes were decent and clean but he was out of place. He clearly did not have a purpose. No, I don't think he died because he had no purpose. I think he missed so much of the joy of life that purpose gives us. For him to be wandering up and down the road until everyone in my family knew who I was talking about, he clearly did not have a place. I knew of one homeless man that the community rallied behind that actually had a home for awhile. It was the loneliness that led him back to the streets.

He had no obituary, no funeral. You can't save the world. But I wish, the world could have saved him.

So tonight, I will sleep well from working hard this week. But my prayers are to thank God for my purpose and place tonight. It might not be what I would have chosen; but, it clearly is a gift. I will also pray for those who struggle in this world.

I know I am a pine tree that was planted with purpose and has a place.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Mortal Coils, et al

This week has been a turmoil. I've had a sister get incredibly sick with pneumonia. She has been in the hospital since the first of June. This is the second time this year she has come close to dying and she is only 50. So my thoughts have been quite somber this week. However, keeping my sister's "weenee" dog has given me a new character for my children's book.

This week, the snakes are coming out. They love to sun in the road and so you guessed it, I've seen many snakes as roadkill. I was going about 45 miles per hour down the road and stretched across the road was a long rat snake like the long dribbles of black tar that fill the cracks in the road. I could not stop so I straddled the snake. I drove back and there it was just agitated as heck but coiled up.

I came back by with the intent of taking a stick and chasing it off the road. But it was so dang agitated, I decided to drive around and say a little prayer for it. I learned that from my sister in the hospital. She hit a deer with her car. The sheriff deputy got a chuckle that she prayed for it. The deer got up and ran off. When I came back by that afternoon, there was no trace of the snake. So prayer obviously works for snakes too.

I saw a huge rattlesnake leaving my driveway to some tall grass which gave me pause. I did not walk my dogs down there until the next day. This time of year, snakes are just passing through, just busy eating, romancing, sunning on rocks and pavements. The next day I saw a king snake which was good news. They eat rattlers. I'm sure he would prefer some of the mice and rabbits but it was a good thought.

I have been mowing that area. I only mow small sections. Because of the way I have my property fenced, many mama deer place their babies to stay in that area. If the fawn stays still, my dogs never know it's there. One time I was walking down a logging trail with my dogs and one of my cats was strolling with us. The cat was getting very leary about something in the woods. The dogs were busy grinning and scuffling. I turned my motley crew around and went home. Dogs are just not as smart as cats.

Some of my pack on our big walk. 
Snakes are supposed to be harbingers of "big changes" in your life. I'm not too superstitious in that I live in the country and this is the time of year snakes are active. Our snakes do not hibernate. They brumate which means they stay in their burrows when the weather is too cold but can come out on a warm day in January. It's unlikely but they can.

One of my favorite creatures is a "snake doctor" which is better known as a dragonfly.

So what are your feelings about superstitions? or what is your favorite animal? or did you know cats were smarter than dogs? The last quote is even true in the comic strips just to give a little research for the doubtful.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


When I said see you in June, I thought I had plenty of time. I gots to get a handle on getting everything done.

When I was younger, I seemed to do more. I think a bigger part is I did not care what I did not do.

Anyway -

I think I made a mistake when I promised my family that I would not write about them. My life has been so involved with them that is where my thoughts are.

Which leads me to a truth about writers, we are writing about everybody all the time. Luckily I have an elephantine memory which helps I guess. I say I guess, it sure doesn't help me find my car keys.

I have a small place in the country. I basically grow what mother nature has scattered about. There is a gaggle of crows that have moved into the pine farm behind my house. The neighbor next door shot his pistol a lot and I guess it was time to relocate to a more hospitable home place.

The crows aren't that pleasant but they are welcome neighbors. I understand they keep hawks away. I would love to get some chickens. I just have not had a great deal of time. So it hasn't happened.

The crows walk about my back lawn and I suspect they are eating insects which is what I want my chickens to do. So, chickenguards that replace the chickens. I have quite a few lizards that frequent my side garden and garage. They are not that welcome but I guess there will be more soon. What I don't like about them is they attract snakes. Kingsnakes are welcome. Rattlesnakes aren't.


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