Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oedipus Wrecks

The mistreating of mothers began with Eve being spelled out as the original harlot, seeking the forbidden for Adam to enjoy.  She's not spelled out as being generous, just the committer of "original sin."  She gave birth to heaven and hell, and has since been the bane of mankind.  Then we think of her as a mother.  But not until after the complaining of her position as sin.
Literature has reinforced this negative image, blaming almost everything on mom, and it makes me wonder; why such a masochistic stance?  Why does it always come back to the mothers?  Seriously!  Why do kids blame everything on mothers?   Whether spoiled, or still are, or were cut off, or beaten, or caught beating off, or because mom was heartless, or narcissistic, or a martyr, an example, or "best-friend," or perhaps lacking in something...maternal, or paternal, or she was too fat, or thin, or boring, or dead, or "around," or drunk, maybe too sober, or sombre, or nurturing, or, or -Or!... -but, really; when!

Don't get me wrong.  I hate my mother as much as any loving child, but I don't blame her for that hate!  It's part of the natural cycle of traditional infantilism.  At first, you want to be/marry/be loved by her in youth, hate her in adolescence, allowing high-school to be the mutual battleground for cruelty and embarrassment, continue through college where it's smartest to speak through dad, and exchange niceties in exchange for the free babysitting after she gets her grandchildren.  Simple and standard issue hate, healthy as sin, everyone goes home a winner.

But to blame her?
That's just rude.

As adults we tend to think about mom's shortcomings and perhaps accept them, not because she's nice, or sweet, or "changed," but because it turns out, she didn't know what the hell she was doing when she had us, maybe still doesn't, and -if she managed to survive, because we are left with the question: would we want our children blaming us for those same reasons?  And if we've changed, isn't it also possible that mom has?  When will we realize that it may be a sham that who actually suffered through the dung-parts of parenting (memoirists excluded) ever wrote a book about parenting!

It's not the mom's fault past the suckling stage... which, many know can last well past the half-century-age stage.  When does mom -regardless of how much you hate her, ever get a break from the respite?  What psychosomatic symptom isn't her Freudian fault?  Hate her? Sometimes.  Love her, we hope.   But blame her for the course of your life?

Didn't the human race decide to blame God for that? (-not condoning, for the record)

So in celebration, let's not take any responsibility for ourselves, the course of our lives, or our actions.  Draw forth the grudges and forget already evasive forgiveness.  There is yet another myopic lens with which to view mistakes both past and present! 

So hate me if you must, but take responsibility for yourself and, if you're not happy with the one I gave you, get a life.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Being "Efficient" and Other Faux-Pas

My debit card was "declined" today.

I was so smart (in theory) doing a month's worth of bills all at once,  staggering the dates on the checks so something like a"declined" debit card would never happen.  It turns out, me and my, "efficiency" is worse than me and my famously "big mouth."

Who does that?  Who bounces a debit card!  And it gets worse!  It happened in front of my kids when we were getting tickets for a matinee!  Swallowing the bile of panic in my veins, the woman at the register saved me with the simplest act of kindness... lying.

She said that it was the wrong matinee time, darn, but she's sure we can go home and sort things out.  I maintained a smile that probably looked like something from British claymation and said, "we might as well as run some errands and go to the bank." I'm so good at subtle.  And not looking obvious (I'm hoping it passed for constipation or something other than freaking out).  We made it to the bank with white-knucked mom explaining that it was the 3-D and I needed us to go the regular showing.

I found my favorite banker in the universe (who shares my name, and probably knows more about me than all of my relatives put together).  She showed me just how deep the quik-sand was...

-For the record, people don't have to wait until the dates on the checks to cash them, checks can be cashed upon receipt.

As freakishly large as my eyes grew at seeing that she hadn't finished writing out what seemed like the number pi (without the decimal) that somehow represented my negative balance, my brain started to follow until its conclusion.  I think they might have needed an EKG or white light if she hadn't stopped and paused,

"Huh, I don't believe it," (I must have looked like one of those cinematographic images who freeze while the world goes on  She continued, "You only have one set of fees, you get paid tomorrow so all of this (pi+) goes away, you get one more set of identical fees, and your total damage is less than $100.  Also, you have some money in your savings, so if you still needed, you could use to do whatever you wanted to do with them for the week; you have full access to that account."  She looked at me, plainly and like a dear friend.

I can take my kids to the movies. I learned something about finances (with considerably less damage than could have surmounted, and chalk up my faux-pas to a memorable experience, as well as a strangely positive one of humanity involving a movie-receptionist and a banker.  If you two read this, thanks for supporting what it means to be a good person.


Monday, February 27, 2012


I'm in the magnificent place where I actually GIVE myself time/space to write and "art" creatively.  Unexpectedly, this also gets my daughter up on her "art" (we have been alphabetically inspiring our sketch-books with our own takes on famous works /by artist).  

Today, she (age 9) was actually able to identify a work inspired by Albers' "Homage to the Square" at an annual art show.  My house is a mess, but my daughter is mastering Art History.  Go figure.

She wonders why I don't teach Art.  I love art. I love to look at it, write about it, analyze the time period around it, reproduce it with my own interpretation (usually find what the artist proposed to evoke and attempt it's inverse), share the original with my daughter so that she can see that not all art needs to photocopy, but that inspiring something in others may actually be more freeing to the artist, causing abstraction to drive forward innovation so that others can see, react, feel...

I'm just a Bill

I braid my hair un-noticingly until I look up and notice the habit I picked up from "Reality Bites."

I'm experiencing doubt.  Angst.  Willing "Diabetic Coma" from a meal that a thinner me was named for, begging a mild headache to wash away the questioning.

Great, I'm doing a double-take on making a ton of commissioned income because I'm an inexcusable creature of habit.  And because I had breakfast with co-workers and felt like a person. (yeah, yeah, eat-your-heart-out Hallmark.)

I WANT to finish out the year.  I feel like I'm supposed to.  Gut-feeling.  It's one thing to make a rash change of career one-year short of retirement, but an entirely different one to have other lives depend on you and make such brash change.

So, "I'm sittin' here on Capitol Hill."  Just sitting.  Anyone know how to be a professional writer with benefits?  I can define the term, "irony."

Thursday, February 23, 2012


If I were a character in "The Matrix," I'd be in the original, sitting in front of a juicy, rare prime-rib saying, "I don't wanna remember nutt'in, Noth-Thing,"  because the career I've called my path for more than a dozen years seems to have let me down.  To be clear, it's not my job, but the infrastructure that keeps me bitter-sweet to teaching.  I love to teach students, I won't kiss their ass.  I can turn the other cheek to things like insults, swearing, racial/sexist comments etc.  I know that once I pull, I've hooked the fish and can then teach the fish (to fish); this doesn't go over well, this theory of humility and complete lack of ego.

Which leads me to my overall goals in finances:  Cost of living + fun for my children + books + (ok, general retail therapy with a high arch in shoes).  Meaning:  I have no desire to go into administration.

I'm not looking to further my position from teacher to... whatever, and have completely original ideas that go well with English Leadership conferences and on "lists of things my employees CAN do," but in reality get rejected from actual classroom practice because we can't guarantee all levels of parent will approve" yaddah-yaddah.

And now I come to the horcrux.  My position has been eliminated.  I can do anything, but the specific certification (of many) for which I was specifically hired, has been cut due to that ever-economic favorite: budget cuts.  I got a pleasant ending, not a pot of gold, but not a bed of spikes either.  And the root of my disappointment came down to two very simple, specific ideas.

I am unhappy


My feelings have been hurt

Yes, FEELINGs (not to be confused with my dastardly and non-existant "ego" I was mentioning not having).  I feel like my job cheated on me.  Twice!  The first time, I chose to leave (another time, another place) and the second time, I was left behind after trying to be enough for it again and again!   Will it never be happy!  And it turned out to be me that hadn't been happy after all!  Three years and I needed to be the one ultimately dumped!

I went through all the emotions...  What are those five stages that has "pissed off" somewhere between in the middle?  Well, I think that that whole, "thinking its all my fault" is a sham.  I'm a damn good teacher.  It's been a nearly-nine-year-run (but not ten; heaven forbid I make state retirement!) and I've been shammed.

And now I'm looking at places that want to pay me.


And now I feel like I'm the one whose been cheating!  What the hell?  Just because I like a nice steak.  Figures I'd get called on that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Scene Density

My eyes are closed and I see a barn; do you?  What's it smellike, tastelike, soundlike, movelike, feellike?

Now it rains.  The color runs down plank.  Spores find homes with termites, gnawing loud against the grain.
The color drains,

away from the walls, poisining the grain.

Red now russet now sienna it fades

into the landscape, causing runoff in the fields.

Sucking green from grain into sienna into whitish, into mud without a...

The ground was thirsty.
The frost heaves crack the earth's tongue while termites slave-away.

They've been busy
Carvng beauty, story, time, age, generations, secret children's incantations

As the canvas drips

Red barn drops
from the corner

The door is gone

The scene is open
Carved by lifetimes, colored bursting lichen
Exhibit "barn" is now complete

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Go Away

     I was not allowed to have pets as a child.  So, like any young lady, I fed a stray cat out of my club-house.  I would hide her in a school-bag and bring her in my room to put bows on her fur and get quite scratched up in the process.  (She didn't want to wear them any more than I did.)  I would try to make a drawer into her bed to pretend she was,  "my baby bunting" and probably even closed the drawer with her in it when my mother walked by.
     All this would probably have gone smoothly, except that my mother had a fancy living-room that we were only allowed to use for holiday gatherings.  And, of course, my mother found out the hard way that I was harboring a cat...
     To help my mothers' cause of shooing the cat away, my father would look at her and yell , "go away!"  The cat eventually responded to this and thought she was given a name, so the ever confusing frustration between father and cat became further confused with the nomenclature of the feline and her care-free caress when he shouted this at her.
     Eventually we kept the cat, who ironically did not go in the livingroom after the solitary act of ownership.  She died.  Suicide.  Not something I thought cats did.  She ran as fast as she could into a wall, knocked herself out, and never came to.  We've kept this means of death a secret from my mother, who gets upset about such things, especially if they happen in the look-at-only livingroom.