FREE STEPS


The ripples of my life.

The ripples of my life. (Photo credit: Athena’s Pix)

 

Unprepared, who knows where

The leaves will fall

They don’t plan

Where to land

Maybe New York

Maybe Los Angeles

The postman can find

The house I live in

It is only walls

That keeps me inside.

Undisclosed strangers will walk in our paths

Cross our hearts and

Tread our minds

Unidentified

We traverse our hearts discourse

Shooting for dreams of undiscovered lands

More weightless plans

I don’t know if I can see ahead

My steps like stones thrown in the river

Ripple on the banks of everyone’s estate.

 

Skipping towards freedom

In summer rays of light.

Like a leaf I break free from the branch of life.

 

EDITING A LIFE


Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: Sweet Evie)

Many years ago, after my friend, Voice of Reason read my book of poems, he said to me, “ I was a little embarrassed, it was like looking at you naked.”

Truth, it’s almost become an abstraction of the truth. Where did it go? Does it fade with age, or get reshaped by our life experiences?  If everyone is lying, then why not join up?  I was never a convincing liar. Yes I can stumble through incendiary confrontations, like you have to when, you’re attacked for a simple mistake, filling out applications, balancing money, returning items. I am talking about the truth in relationships, your art or business.  It’s tempting to reinvent the truth.  That is why it is one of the  Ten Commandments.

I could write about the last road trip to San Diego, and the little sign that said Jack Ass Acres, or about all the new gangster movies, or what I’ve observed happening in the interior world of people I’ve met.  The truth is, that one of my foremost characteristics is truth, and that is what speeds up the pen when I am writing, and talking, because I like to dig out the top soil and get to the roots.  Here goes.

Since my lover left, in a hurry, practically skidded out the driveway, back in January,  mornings and evenings feel like thunder storms in my heart. These are the moments that keep infringing on my perception. It’s like being crippled emotionally, leaning on the old crutches of what he did wrong, what I did wrong, what the world did wrong.  Answers percolate, but they never satisfy the gap between the truth and my imagination.  So, as any hot blooded Russian Irish woman would do, after five months of reclusive living, I got very angry, cynical, anxious, depressed, offensive, impatient, and talked myself out of the gift of life.

In this precarious state of mind, the tiniest disappointment inflates the size of a monster, and the big disappointments, just send me back to TCM to Robert Mitchum week.  As it happened, the big billboard answer came on a lovely breezy night, sitting on the portal of Geronimo, with White Zen and Rudy. My cynics and sharp-tongued wit drew a lot of laughter, and my company appreciated the humor, but I was reminded of something, that wasn’t funny, it was frightening.

I was imitating those women, whom I met, every Thanksgiving when Dad pulled me into a be dazzling party scene at the home of his attorney. Every year there was this one woman who sat at the bar and mixed life’s lessons with the worst elements of human behavior. She was the queen of cynicism, and at the time, I was keenly observing of her, and sympathetic, painfully attached to understanding what she was so angry about.  I had not been hurt yet.

The final siren of my digression came while Rudy and I were driving out to San Diego. Somewhere along Highway 17, the fields turned into rows of Saguaro Cactus.  They didn’t look like Cactus; I perceived them as hands, flipping me off! I turned to Rudy and said, “You know my head is not working properly.”

Landing in San Diego meant I would meet with my GP at Scripps Clinic for the routine round.   The visit lasted longer, I told her, that my real sickness was mental.  She took a serious interest in my babbling, and emptying out the garbage I’d held back for so long.  No, I have not been on any joy pills, or anxiety pills, or anything, so when she suggested a prescription to add, serotonin to my brain, I accepted her advice.

“Do you see a lot of patients with these symptoms?

“Eighty percent of my clients come in for anxiety and depression. You’re not alone.”

Today is day three of pills, and the roses are waving at me. My motor is running smoother, and    I am not         angry. This is an arguable confession, because I used to sneer at pill poppers for corrective behavior. Psychotherapy was instrumental in my life at one time, and I will use it again when I meet the right therapist.

Truth, about facing what we need to edit and revise cannot be shaded or ignored. If we’re not honest with ourselves, why should we be with others?

It is a day later, and while I was reading the WSJ online, I landed on this article; Why We Lie? Dan Ariely

“We tend to think that people are either honest or dishonest. In the age of Bernie Madoff and Mark McGwire, James Frey and John Edwards, we like to believe that most people are virtuous, but a few bad apples spoil the bunch. If this were true, society might easily remedy its problems with cheating and dishonesty. Human-resources departments could screen for cheaters when hiring. Dishonest financial advisers or building contractors could be flagged quickly and shunned. Cheaters in sports and other arenas would be easy to spot before they rose to the tops of their professions.

But that is not how dishonesty works. Over the past decade or so, my colleagues and I have taken a close look at why people cheat, using a variety of experiments and looking at a panoply of unique data sets—from insurance claims to employment histories to the treatment records of doctors and dentists. What we have found, in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats—just by a little. Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. On the one hand, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly, it is this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high-profile cases, that is most corrosive to society. “

Revising from the Inside Out


 

  1. I’m sitting outside in a flowerless garden because no matter how many flowers I plant, they only last one season, if that long. The garden is erupting out of its winter coat, and lime green buds will have to do for now. The sky that seals me in is licked with revisionary hope;  the kind that comes back laundered and fresh after a  recess from disbelieving in the possibility of a life correction.

Behind the garden, a neighbor is drumming a soft tribal beat, and on Palace Avenue, the choir is singing inside the Episcopal Church. Between these distinctive tastes, there are sparrows fluttering from fan to nest to fountain. The chattering sounds like, “here she comes, don’t come over here, get out of my nest, watch out for that fat crow.”

It’s a mind drift, to be caught in such unstructured beauty, away from the manuscripts, remotes, doors, and phones. It’s like being on an island out here. Everything we bring into our experience can be revised; a work of art, a way of speaking, thinking, portraying yourself, your way of loving, or lusting, and we all know about appearance, because our society shoves it down our throat.

Look at the possibilities in revising our patterns of behavior. What we accepted 20 years ago doesn’t mean it’s carved in our organs. We can transmute. The interior life needs lifting and tightening, just as our mind and muscles do. You won’t find any immediate remedy, or advertisements, or books on the subject because we’re consumers of products that change and revise only the visible tangibles. I wonder if I traded in my 11-year-old Land Rover for a new one if I’d be really happy, and for how long?

images

ISADORA DUNCAN

My homework for the next few weeks.  Life corrections begin with edits, then revisions, and then you have a new story!

Hwy 17.


Highways past Sedona. Life blurs and  burns as a lone  butterfly flaps

Sedona Arizona

Sedona Arizona (Photo credit: Molly258)

by the past, and stumbles on the next turn.  The pines are statuesque monuments along hwy 17, before we dip into the concrete sideshow of Phoenix, it’s about 102 degrees. I am reading “When the Mob Ran Las Vegas”,  a few pages at a time. The violence is unsettling.  I am caught in believing and not believing.

More later.

 

MOTHER’S DIARY


Hollywood Hollywood

Hollywood Hollywood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The diary my mother never wrote is from what I read in the  FBI surveillance reports,  newspaper articles and what my father told me.  My mother’s emotion’s and thoughts erupt from years of research, intuition and imagination.  When I was eleven she gave me a diary. I’ve been writing ever since. I wanted my daughter or son to understand who I was, in case I died young like her. Instead I became dedicated to writing not childbearing.

I think every mother should keep a diary for her children.

Manhattan, December 1944

I am dancing at the Copacabana Night club for the next few weeks. This tiny smoky club is filled with many interesting people. It’s different from any modeling job.

I’m tired after working all day and night, and then taking the train back home to West Orange. Some of the girls are staying at the Barbizon Hotel, so I may also if it’s not too expensive.

Last night, a group of men were seated in the front row. I didn’t know who they were, but this one stared at me all through the show. He sent a bouquet of long-stemmed roses backstage and asked me to meet him for a drink.

When I declined, he was very insistent, and so persuasive I gave in. Later on, I found out he was seated with Frank Costello, the gangster. His name is Allen, and he asked me to dine with him the following night. I hesitated again, and I’m not sure why. He made me laugh and entertained everyone at the table.

January 1944

A talent agent from Hollywood came to the Copa to see all of us dance. Mum is so excited she is already telling everyone in town, I hate when she does this.

Allen called and I agreed to dine with him. We went to El Morocco. He knows so many people. He says he’s in the film business, but there’s talk amongst the girls that he’s a gangster.

March 1944

I’m going to Hollywood for an audition. Swifty Lazar, the one that came to the Copa to see our show, said MGM is signing musical actors. They liked my photos. Allen lives in Hollywood, and is handling all the details. He’s become very interested in my career. It’s all so sudden. There isn’t time to think.

April 1944

I spent a week in Hollywood. Allen drove me all over the city, took me to Santa Monica to see the ocean, to the nightclubs on Sunset Boulevard, and Beverly Hills.

It’s like a dream. I love the city, and MGM has offered me a contract. Again, Allen is helping me make decisions and understand the film business. I don’t know what he does, but he carries a lot of cash. He gets very disturbed when I question him. I met his friend Benjamin Siegel. They are both so handsome and get anything they want.

Summer 1944

We are moving out to California next month. Allen found an apartment in Beverly Hills for us, near where sister Pat can go to High School. She’s so excited. One of the models told me Ben Siegel is a gangster. I wish Allen would open up to me more.

When we moved, our new apartment was on a beautiful street. The apartment is smaller than home, and Mum misses her garden, but she seems happy. She found a Church she likes. She is going to learn to drive.

I have already learned to drive and am saving for a car. Allen knows someone who sells cars, and said he can get me a very good deal. Sometimes, I don’t hear from him for a week, and then he shows up on the studio set with presents.

Allen, Ben and George Raft were arrested for bookmaking. George called and said it wasn’t like the papers wrote, and that Allen would call me when he could.

I’m not to discuss this with anyone. I hid the paper from Mum.

George took me out to dinner. He wants me to be in a movie with him called Nocturne. He’s very fond of Allen and said not to believe what I read in the papers.

Next week we begin filming “Ziegfeld Follies.” Fred Astaire is magnificent to watch. Life is spinning. There is no time to read, or even think. Everyone in Hollywood wants to be a star. I still daydream of going to college one day.

November 1944

I am in love with Allen. There is no turning back. He is Jewish, and his family lives in Winnipeg, Canada. He won’t talk of them, but said he loved his mother.

I wonder so often about his life, but I cannot ask questions. Maybe one day he’ll trust me more. He’s suspicious of everyone. He said he’s going to marry me when his life settles down.

 

SALON THERAPY


Paris beauty salon

Paris beauty salon (Photo credit: adrian, acediscovery)

In the salon, Wendy, who sees me coming in and senses my mood, whipped out a particularly inviting  greeting.

” What’s happening laaaaady?”

” Turning the page on another year.  OMG- how did I get to be this age?”  Screening my head for imperfections , she stroked my shoulder.

” You don’t need hi-lights, and you look terrific.

” That’s not enough,  I haven’t planned well.

” You’re an artist, you create..

” You sure I don’t need hi-lights

” No, you look fab-u-lous.”

Two women in the salon, the conversation cuts through all of our individuality, and ends up in the center, of our tribal understanding, our sensitivities, and insecurities.

THE POST OFFICE AND FACEBOOK


Post Office. St. Louis, Missouri, by Boehl & K...

Post Office. St. Louis, Missouri, by Boehl & Koenig (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About the post office, it’s a relic, a dying old fortress of communication, where we all stood in line at one time to send our letters, the ones that took us a few more minutes than we can afford today.  I wrote a lot of letters, long five page letters written on delicate stationary, and art cards I bought in museums and boutiques.

The Post Office loses 96 million dollars a day according to a reporter on television.  We have stopped buying stamps, because we don’t mail letters. We don’t even need to send packages, because we  buy it online and let them ship it directly.  The cards are printed by the shipper, and impersonally attached to the gift. The type is formal, and even though you know that person, had his mind on you for the minute they typed out that note, well, it’s not the same really.  Progress is raping  us of the personal touch.  People like Zuckerberg are reinventing the way we share our thoughts, our photos, our everything.

Letters, of people that acquired prominence in the world of literature, art, and science were  adapted into books.  I wonder if their emails will be considered for a book.

The postman still comes to the house, he’s usually talking on his cell phone, or listening to his iPod, when he drops the mail off.   There is no need to rush to see what he’s brought, it’s always the same, a stack of bills, a few discount fliers, and a real estate brokerage announcement that they can sell our house in thirty days.  The postman has changed too.  They used to say hello, and have a nice day.  I suppose if I wanted to have a conversation with the Postman I could go to their Facebook page.

I’m going to check, and see if they have a Facebook page….  The first three  Facebook post offices:  one in the UK, one in St Louis, and one in Pakistan.  Clicked more, and there they are. You can Facebook the Post office.