joan

the modern Odysseus

Okay, this is the thing I needed to write:

She’d been reading ever since she could remember. Fairytales gave her relief when home or school became abusive. She read almost every day. Grown, she continued her studies, still myths and symbols, fables and archetypes. She felt if she could understand them, she could understand everything. She travelled around, happy at times but always seeking, until circumstance and too many Stephen King novels led her to a small town, a community where people greeted you with sharp smiles that hid stunted minds. She moved into a house, and filled it with so much warding it gave the impression that no one lived there. She lived there, reading more books, slowly forgetting the life she had lived, the person she had been, accepting that stories were only dreams while reality was a dull and painful thing that simply must be endured until the end of life.

Until one day, an astounding Spartan came sailing into town, tall and strong, dark and dignified, looking for all the world like Odysseus, but on a school bus instead of a ship.

“I have travelled the world over,” he said. “I have sailed the Seven Seas, from the Mediterranean to the Orient and beyond. And never, never, never have I seen a more foul place than this. You are in Plato’s Cave, believing the shadows on the wall are real. You have forgotten Life; you must come with me or you will die. Not right away because you are strong, but slowly, until one day you are covered with dust, unable to move, and worse yet, not caring to do so.”

“I can’t.” she said. “I can’t quit my job. I am old; who will hire me? Go, and leave me to die.” And Odysseus sailed away.

He travelled many days to the northern border but could not bring himself to cross it. He turned around and came back.

“Come with me, please!” he cried. “I cannot leave you here to die.”

“I can’t.” she said. “You are asking too much. In the real world, one needs money to survive. Let me try to find a job elsewhere first, then I will go.” And once again, Odysseus sailed away.

He made it as far as a village with an old Grecian temple. He entered the temple and received an incredible vision. And then he came back for her once again.

“You MUST come with me! I had a vision in the temple! You must come with me now, not later. If you do not, you will surely die, and I cannot let that happen.”

“I can’t,” she said. “I can’t – turn you away a third time. I will quit my job, and sell my things, and I will sail with you.”

But the town didn’t want to let her go. In the days that followed, the two faced many battles, storms and monsters until the bus was ready, and then they sailed out of the town, across many roads and mountains, until they reached the farthest sea, where she found old friends and a new job and a new life in a city that smelled of rain and coffee instead of sulfur.

“He cried the relief he felt at finally seeing the pattern, the way all the stories fit together—the old stories, the war stories, their stories—to become the story that was still being told. He was not crazy; he had never been crazy. He had only seen and heard the world as it always was: no boundaries, only transitions through all distances and time.“
― Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
joan

You know, this really does fit.

You were born during a New moon
The moon is dark in this phase, because the half that's illuminated by the sun is facing away from Earth.

- what it says about you -
You want to leave an impression on people and make your mark on the world. When you love an idea, you'll work hard for it, sometimes even dropping whatever it is you're doing to go on to the next new great thing that's captured your imagination. The more freedom you have to chose what you're doing, the busier you'll be.
What phase was the moon at on your birthday? Find out at Spacefem.com
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joan

Writer's Block: Music of my heart

 What’s that one song that always reminds you of the one that got away?

He's going to see this, but it's okay, we're friends now. The song is "Air of December" by Edie Brickell. We were involved 20 or so years ago, then estranged, then recently reunited as friends just a couple of years ago.

Some reasons the lyrics remind me of him:

He came downstairs once while it was playing and I was cooking in the kitchen. His brother knew some of her band members, or something like that, so it was a happy coincidence. i remember him smiling and his eyes shining, and us joking about him getting in my way in the kitchen.

"Air of December" -- one night in December we were waiting outside for a train, trying to keep warm, sliding our hands into each other's coats and pockets. It seemed we waited a very long time for that train.

"I swear I remember it that way" -- because these memories are so long ago

"Where are you now?" -- the long time we were out of touch

"You'll never be what you were to me" -- That's true, but the friendship we have now is actually better -- and that is the biggest surprise to me.
joan

My Parents Exposed Me to Adult Material and This Is How I Turned Out

Every now and then I hear parents talking about what they will and will not let their children see at the movies. My parents had a simple rule: I could see it if it was quality, not crap. Whenever I mention this, inevitably someone starts talking about how movies and TV are more extreme today in terms of what is suitable for children. For instance, they don’t want their children seeing torture porn, like Saw or its many sequels. To that I respond that, according to my parents’ system, I would not have been allowed to watch torture porn. Torture porn is crap! Crap is specifically ruled out with, “No, you can’t watch that – it’s crap!” However, violent movies like The Godfather, movies that treated mature themes and/or had some sexual content – those were okay as long as they weren’t crap.

In addition to the usual Disney movies  – wholesome family fare which featured hunters murdering mother deer as they cried out to their fawns to run, and psychotic old women who skinned puppies for coats or enslaved, poisoned or induced comas in their stepdaughters – I saw the following “mature themed” movies at quite a young age, and this is how they affected my growth and development. (Warning! Spoilers!)

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joan

Writer's Block: Father figure

What's the most memorable piece of advice your father has shared with you?

All his advice was memorable, but this one has proved most valuable:  When in a physical fight with another person, don't worry about what the person might do, concentrate instead on what YOU can do to the other person.  If you start to feel fear, make yourself feel anger instead. 

Several years ago when a horrible man tried to hurt my cat, I applied this advice, concentrated on getting kitty away from him, succeeded, and kitty (who was traumatized but physically fine) and I left the scene and went to a women's shelter.  Thanks, Dad.  You taught me how to fight without one word about kicks or punches. 
joan

12 boxes of cereal

I just entered a writing contest -- "most awkward moment at work" or something like that.  The prize is 12 boxes of Golden Grahams.  Here's my entry:

I had just started working in an office, maybe 1 or 2 days, when the door to the supply room opened and a male co-worker beckoned to me to enter. I hesitated a moment, but my curiosity got the better of me and I entered the supply room. He shut the door. “I’ve only recently returned to the area,” he said, “and my old connections have all dried up. Do you have any idea where I can buy some pot?” I was shocked. My first thought was, “Do I LOOK like a pot head?” My second thought was, “THIS is the drug test! This is the drug test! Instead of having me pee in a cup, they have someone ask me privately if I can help them buy pot! How ingenious that they save all the money of chemical drug testing and yet still get accurate results!” I just said, “Um, no, I’m sorry, I don’t smoke anything like that.” He looked very disappointed but nodded okay. He apologized for asking me, but said he was desperate. Then we both left the supply room.
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joan

when I was a little girl in the early to mid 1960s

When I was a little girl, telephones were made of hard plastic. You got them from the phone company and they were attached to the wall.  If you were waiting for an important call, you had to stay home because there was no voice mail or answering machines.

When I was a little girl, if you wanted to see a new movie, you had to go to the theatre.  You could only see an older movie if it was on television or re-released in the theatre, as was Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and Disney animated films like Fantasia.  Rosemary had yet to have her baby, and no one had called The Exorcist.

When I was a little girl, Richard Speck, murderer of 8 nursing students, was the most notorious killer around.  The Manson Family, Son of Sam, Hillside Strangler, and Zodiac Killer hadn't killed anyone, and John Wayne Gacy had yet to stuff the corpses of adolescent boys into his crawl space. 

When I was a little girl, the original Star Trek, Dark Shadows, Outer Limits, and Twilight Zone series were on the air, on our black and white television that received signals through rabbit ears antennae.  My sister was particularly fond of a spy show called The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

When I was a little girl, corn chips were always yellow, many people outside of major cities had never tried sushi, bagels or even nachos, there was no Ben & Jerry's, and a fondue set was a popular gift. 

When I was a little girl, Michael Jackson and Donny Osmond were cute little kids, the moonwalk was done only by astronauts, John Lennon was still alive, and we had to stand by our desks for a moment of silence when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. 

When I was a little girl, my cousin was drafted and sent to Vietnam, hippies looked fun and interesting with their love beads and groovy music but there were people who wanted to kill them, and a 9-year-old girl had yet to be photographed running down a road naked and burned with napalm. 

When I was a little girl, I wasn't allowed to wear my bell-bottoms (or any pants) to my public grade school unless it was winter, when I could wear them for warmth under my skirt but had to take them off and leave them in the coat room during class. 

When I was a little girl, I was told that someday we would all have computers, and that we would have to get really smart because we would need to program them.  I was told computers in the work place would get our work done so much faster that we would all have only 3 day work weeks. 

When I was a little girl, the newspaper classifieds were divided into "Help Wanted -- Men" and "Help Wanted -- Women" before being broken down into other categories.

When I was a little girl, I told my parents I wanted to be a fireman.  They laughed and said I couldn't and that I would get married and have babies instead.  On the odd chance I might want to go to college, I would have to pay for it myself, because it was only a waste of money since I would drop out, get married, and have babies before I finished. 

When I was a little girl, I thought that only old people believed in racism and sexism, and that by the time I was an adult, all those people would be dead. 
 


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joan

white man chili stew




I'm calling this "white man chili stew" because that's what my Native American relatives would call it -- and they would laugh at me.  But it actually tastes very close to the stuff they make.  I've found that they tend to throw in "local" (i.e., picked outside) ingredients that I can't duplicate.  Like they make this wonderful tea of piñon needles, mountain cedar, and "shiff" root.  What is shiff root?  I asked them, and they said, "medicine root."  I asked if there was an English word for it.  If so, they didn't know it.  So yeah, there could be all kindsa stuff in what they make, plus I don't have a hogan to bake the bread.  But, like I said, this came out good.  It's also "white man" in that it's way less hot than the Pueblo version -- so add hotter peppers or seasoning if you like.

I will give the recipe "Pueblo style" meaning a recipe without measurements.  Just use your noodle and your intuition when you're making your own:

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blue feather

Voodoun dreams

The loa been sneakin' into my dreams lately:

-- I'm at an outdoor market, and I bump into a table full of small items for sale, knocking it all to the ground.  I right the table, then bend down and start putting the items back on it fairly quickly,  Someone is watching me and says, "You know, you just set up a perfect Voodoo altar."  I said, "Really?  I didn't mean to."  Then I walked away and after a few minutes, realized that I was still holding an item I'd meant to put on the table.  It was a bright green oblong stone with a black design painted on it. 

-- I'm in a seafood restaurant with friends, having a fabulous meal of seared ahi tuna, lobster croquettes, shu mai, and leading up to a sashimi sampler.  I look up and see the restaurant's name in neon lights:  "Loa's". 
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