I write. Some days it just falls out of my head. Others it has to be wrung from my brain like a towel through and old-fashioned washing machine. Most times I stare at the blinking cursor while I ponder why I do this. It helps.
Painting with Fire
By the time I picked up my first Conan the Barbarian paperback, Robert E. Howard had been dead by his own hand for at least 35 years and Frank Frazetta was in the neighborhood of my current chronological count. Howard’s novels were enjoying a resurgence of popularity in the 70’s and Frazetta’s art was to be found on book covers, movie posters and music albums. I have to admit I have no clear memory of the story itself nor did I have a bolt out of the blue revelation moment that I recall to this day about the artwork. All I do know is that I was hooked and over the course of several years, bought the novels and the calendars and the posters. They graced my shelves and walls through many years and many moves, to my mother’s evident disgust, and somewhere along the way got left in boxes and garages and faded from my provenance.
An Open Letter to My Husband's Sisters
An open letter to my husband’s sisters, I didn’t believe your mother. I could not believe that she was setting all of you up to wound each other and destroy your relationships after she was gone. I was flabbergasted that she could not be talked out of it no matter what I said, when she changed her will and chose not to notify any of you because she didn’t ‘want to hear it now. You all can sort that out after I’m gone.’ I was appalled when your father, 24 hours before he died called your brother and me to his room and with anger in his eyes demanded that we promise to ‘protect your mother’. WTH? From what? From who? All he would say was ‘you know what I’m talking about.’ All I could figure was his great fear of dying in a nursing home being transmitted to his wife. I have spent countless hours in the last five years assuring your mom that no one was going to let her be cared for by strangers. None of you would want that. Her fear has never abated. She watched all of us very closely while we were helping as your father was dying. Something that happened during that time convinced her that given the added responsibility of her care you would institute her and her only hope of staying in her home was her son. She made him promise repeatedly. Even now, everything she says and does is motivated by unrelenting fear that she can push her family far enough to ‘give up’ and send her away. You can’t conceive of how much I hate being wrong, but you have proved her right. Given the responsibility of her, you would have chosen institutional care for her. It doesn’t make you wrong. It doesn’t make you bad children. It simply proves her intuition of your inability to do what she wants. And it certainly doesn’t mean she loved or trusted any one of you more or less. It proves that she knew enough about your lives and burdens to know that you weren’t going to be able to do what she wanted. And it proves that she knew that her son is incapable at the heart of this to break his promise to either her or your father. And neither of them are ‘here’ to try to make you understand the reasons for their actions.
Mediating The Static
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. Maybe that’s where I could send them. Just load ‘em all up in the individually sealed rooms of a rocket ship and shoot them into the sky to go where no one has gone before; their screams to never be heard here on earth again. I could program the video screens to play the original science fiction shows of the past in a continuous loop of star treks and space voyages and cartoon robots. They could watch all the captains and freakzoidians and jetsons interact in new and life affirming ways. For a change of pace, they could turn and view all these new worlds streak by the portholes while they munched their space snacks and sucked on pouches of Tang between screams.