SWEET DREAMS

 

So it is almost Friday and time for Friday Fictioneers and their stories of 100 words or so. We are hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple.  And here is this week’s photo prompt and my tale of 100 words.

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PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Randy Mazie

 

“Oh my gosh!” Alice gasped.  “The book is here.  MY book is here.”

She stood in the middle of aisle C.  She walked closer to the  shelf in front of her.  Slowly and lovingly she ran her hand down the spine of the book.

“The Devil in the Blue Dress by Alice Craig,” She mouthed silently.  “That would be me!  It’s real.  I’m published!  It’s already in the library.”

She gave a whoop and a leap in the air.  She came down with a crash.  “Ouch!”

What happened?  She opened her eyes.  She had fallen asleep on the library lawn.

RE-WRITING, RE-WIRING

I am trying get back up to speed.  I am trying to pick up where I have left off.  I hope my words come back.  It is an exercise, you know – this tapping out my thoughts, my angst, my loves and hates.  The feel of the keys beneath my fingertips is rhythmic and soothing.  It’s like a drumming, like a song and dance coaxing the letters and words onto the page.

How am I doing with my shoe boxes and drawers of dread?  Today I am braving my fears. I am daring enough to open Pandora’s Box to look inside.  I have survived the first round. The shoe have dropped and nothing catastrophic has happened – no explosions nor Jack coming out of his box.  It is like waking up from a dream.  There is no destruction.  It’s the hurricane that never happened.

Image-1Life is like a dream in my head.  I have to live and just stop thinking and analyzing so much.  The stuff in my head can lead me astray.  They are falsehoods and impostors posing as the real meal deal.  I will not follow them down the yellow brick road.  My heart is my true North Star.  I know it will not lead me astray.  When I am lost and in doubt, I always listen to my heart and that gut feeling.

This month of November has been long and gruelling. I am not too proud to ask for help.  So I send out my smoke signals and SOS.  I haven’t been a good girl guide nor sailor in the past, choosing instead to suffer in silent pride.  I have fallen many times.  It is a testimony to the saying pride goeth before fall.

I sip my Chai, tapping out my words.  I am listening to the beat of my heart and the whisper of the Universe.  I am re-writing through a different picture frame, wanting to see my glass half full instead of half empty. Tap, tap, tap.  The letters and words come painstakingly slow onto my page.  I feel the keys beneath my fingertips.  I hear the tap, tap in my head, clearing debris, making space for ideas and good thoughts.  December is going to be an awesome month.

 

BOXES AND DRAWERS FULL OF DREAD

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I wish I could understand the chemistry underlying inertia and procrastination.  Why is it that we delay and delay in doing.  Why is it so hard to move?  Have you ever experience this phenomenon?  I confess I experience it on a regular basis.  To move, even just to blink requires supreme effort.  Is there a psychological reason for this malady?  What am I dreading that I am so frozen in action?

******

It’s a day later.  I am finally able to move on from yesterday.  I am going to starting to stare at the monster head on.  There is nothing to dread.  The dread comes from evading, delaying, procrastinating.  I have shoe boxes and drawers full of dread – unopened and un- dealt with ‘issues’.  I have shoved them in there and closed the door.  They are out of sight, but not out of mind.  They wiggle and niggle at me when I am sleeping.  They interrupt my dreams.  They crop up time and time again to haunt and taunt me.

I am now taking the time to know and understand them.  What are they all about?  Can I put them to rest forever and ever?  If not, how we can live with each other in peace?  There’s no quick fixes, I know.  There’s no going back to the very beginning.  I have to start right here and in this moment.  Have I told you the story of a this friend when we were in nursing school?

She was from a very small town.  Saskatoon was a big city and it was new to her.  We were crossing the street.  Halfway across, the DON’T WALK sign came on.  She turned back and tried again.  Halfway across, the DON’T WALK sign came on again.  She realized that she won’t ever get across if she kept going back.  She kept on going and got across.

I haven’t been as smart as she was.  I haven’t learned my lesson as quickly.  I keep on going back to square one each time.  And each time I reach the snag point, I would retreat.  I have been very much like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.  I keep waking up to the same old, same old in my own way.

I would like to say, NO MORE! and mean it this time, but I know that I’m a human being with many frailties.  I mean everything I say at the time but when the tough gets going, my resolve sags and then I lose heart.  I’m not justifying but sometimes it’s better to give it a rest.  Things come up.  Life happens.  It is not always wise to be inflexible no matter what. Sometimes I have to give up to continue.  I give myself a grace period – to rest, recoup my strength and resolve, to clear my vision and mark my progress.

I am doing the best I can.  My boxes and drawers are getting less and less – ever so slowly.

 

 

 

LIFE WITH ROCKS AND EDGES

It’s been a little while since we’ve talked.  It feels like forever.  I worry that I might not find my voice again.

Life is hard.  That is how M. Scott Peck started his book The Road Less Travelled.  It is true.  Life indeed is very hard.  Though I have vowed not to use words like ‘hard’, ‘overwhelmed’ and such, I have succumbed and failed yet again.  I have found everything so hard and I have been overwhelmed by all of life.

I have given up on the National Novel Month in November before it started and without even a whimper.  I have not written anything for a week or more, not even 100 words for Friday Fictioneers.  My imagination seems to have vanished along with my drive and stick- with-it attitude.  What can one do?

When the going gets tough and the wind is against you, it’s hard climbing that mountain.  You slip and slide and tumble down the mountain side.  You get up and fall again a few more times.  You get tire.  You throw in the towel. The hell with it!  I’m going to rest.  After all, isn’t there a song about these are the best years of my life?  I can cry quit if I want to. can’t I?

This is where I am.  I’ve finally caught my breath.  It’s been a tough grind.  I am wondering what happened to the HAPPY RETIREMENT adventures, dreams, free to do as you please, etc. etc.  I’ve just been through 3 days without running water – water main break.  I know, small thing.  Half the world probably still doesn’t have flushing water and taps on demand. But if you have it and they take that away, 3 days is a long time.  So I’m a cry baby.  Shoot me.

I really don’t like complaining, but I’ve been sick for over 2 weeks since coming home from France.  Now I’m really whining.  Why not?  Might as well give it good go.  Though I’m much better, I’m still coughing up my stomach occasionally.  It gets to you after a while.

To top it off, my financial planner put all my RRSPs into a RRIF without a meeting, without talking to me and without my signature.  How is that possible?  How scary is that? Then she tells me she shouldn’t have done it, but I have to sign.  I said, no thank you.  I will not!  So many frigging times, I have been told someone pushed the wrong button. Oops but I can’t get it back.  Bullshit!

That is correct.  Buttons can be unpushed.  Mistakes can be corrected.  Don’t let people bull doze you.  There are laws and regulations.  Stand firm. Believe in yourself.  Push back. Be polite and respectful though.  There’s no need to cuss.  Do so when you are alone.

 

 

ABANDONMENT

It is morning, another day.  I have rounded that corner.  Hope has come with the morning light and sun beams. I bask once more in its warmth coming through the windows.  Sheba will have to wait a little for her walk.

These weeks have felt like an eternity.  Yet it is still November.  There is still time.  Time to write those stories, time to chronicle my time on this earth.  I can start where I have left off.  I can start with this very moment.  There is no better time than this.  I am not behind. I am not crazy.  I am not perfect but I am not deficient.

*****

I could not resist the pull of nature after all.  The sunshine and the great outdoors drew me out.  I abandoned my words and took off to the park with my furry baby.  I was too serious and melancholy still.  I got sick listening to myself, to my words.  There was a falseness to them.  They did not ring true.  I left them in mid air, unfinished, incomplete.

It is not a bad thing.  There is a time and a season for everything under heaven.  Or so the song goes.  I do believe that if I could cuss up a blue streak, like in days of yore, it would give me great relief.  But I am bereft of anger.  Therefore I have no energy to bring forth the *#!.  I can only tap out a few symbols.  It is a sad state of affairs, I know.  The volcano has died.  The tiger lady has lost her growl.  I am still striving to do my best, of course.  The tiger is alive and lurking underneath it all.

My best today was the dog park with Sheba, followed by a nap and watching two movies in the afternoon.  There is nothing wrong with pausing awhile.  After all, today is Sunday, a day of rest.  Did you rest?

 

LATE NIGHT RANTINGS

I am feeling sad tonight having read someone ended a beloved pet’s suffering.  I have also learned today that an old friend has passed away.  His suffering has also ended.  It is hard, nevertheless, for those left on this side of life.  I am sure God will forgive me my tears. They are coming down in the dark of the night.

I am still wondering what is it all about, Alfie?  Will I find any answers?  Life has tricked me into believing that it gets easier with age.  I have not found it so.  It has been harder. Life has caught me unaware and unprepared – to grapple with all these complexities of modern, New Age living.

It was much easier when I was young.  I went to school.  I did my chores.  I obeyed my parents.  I respected my elders.  I respected my teachers.  I listened to their wisdom.  After all, they’ve lived longer than me.  They knew a few more things than I did.

Not so anymore.  Children can divorce their parents.  You dont always seldom get respect from the younger generation.  They have this sense of entitlement – they know better.   They are better and it is you who should listen to them.  Sometimes we tiptoe around them, afraid to lose their love.  They are the ME generation.  I am, of course, generalizing. I am making the mistake of putting them all in the same basket.

Experience has made it difficult not to generalize and take things personally.  It would take a better woman than me not to do so.  I am ranting my deficiencies in the silence of the night.   I am exhaling my poison.  I am also remembering those other youths.  I should not lump them altogether.  Some are wonderful, loving and knowing – more than we know.  They know the word respect.

Respect, saving face is of utmost importance to the Chinese.  I should know.  The teachings of respect is ingrained into my very fabric.  My mother has done a good job with me.  I am grateful for it.  What are we, without respect?  We all crave it and yet so many of us are so reluctant or unable to give it.  Pity!  Regardless, I do respect myself.

Forgive my late night ranting.  I am but momentarily disillusioned with this thing call life. I am sickened by the wrongs and woes of the world.  How can I not be when I hear news like Jian Gomeshi and stories like Rhtaeh Parson?  Then there are all the killings and wars. I could go on and go.  How can I keep my spirit up and my heart intact?  Down which road has humanity gone?

I am only a simple Asian woman in her middle years.  I have no answers nor solutions. Tonight I can only rant.  But tomorrow is another day.  Hope is just around the corner.

WHAT ABOUT ME?

IMG_0567It’s hard to stay afloat.  Sometimes I feel as if I’m drowning in the sea of life.  Where is the peace and contentment?  Everybody and their dogs are clamouring.  Me!  Me!  What about me?  And Sheba’s barking and nudging, insistent with her snout.  Me!  Me!  I feel like screaming.

IMG_1227Will everybody just shut the #* up already? What about me?  I count the most with me, thank you very much.  You will have to wait your turn, till I’m ready.  There, that’s much better.  It is finally quiet and peaceful.  My nerves are soothed by silence.  Bark collars work, even without batteries.  Different people require different ‘collars’.  You have to experiment to find the right ones, but it’s worth the effort.

Do I sound a bit nasty?  That’s what noise, a lingering cold and hassles not of my own making can do to me.  It drives me out of my skull.  Sometimes I cuss up a blue streak but I’m out of practice.  I have taken to seething.  You can almost see the steam coming out of my mouth in hisses and snorts.  It’s not satisfying at all.  I’m letting my fingers do the #*!#* instead.  It’s better but there’s not enough squiggles on the keyboard for full expression.  OH WELL!  C’est la vie

I have inhaled and exhaled.  I am tap, tapping away my angst on the keyboard.  My head is a little lighter and clearer.  Anger and irritation are chased down the road.  I am almost human again.  I rise above the soap operas of our lives and thrive.  What bunk but it sounds good, doesn’t it?

REMEMBRANCE

Snow flakes are gently floating down, making this November day whiter and brighter. Today is Remembrance Day and I’m remembering the poppies of John McCrea.

IMG_1551In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I am reminded of all the young men then and now who gave up their lives – for what? What is it all about Alfie?  I am melancholy, unable to understand the whys of life. It’s an appropriate day for it.  Snow flakes falls on the ground, God’s tears freezing on their way down from Heaven.

I felt God’s sadness in the night.  I woke breathless and in a sweat.  I sat up in a panic, gasping for air, wondering what had happened.  In the dark, I calmed and settled myself. You are breathing!  I reassured myself.  No worries.  Go back to sleep.  I was comforted and soothed by His presence and so I slept.

Love abides still.  In Him I trust.

Burt Bacharach – Alfie Lyrics

What’s it all about, Alfie
Is it just for the moment we live
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind
And if only fools are kind, Alfie
Then I guess it’s wise to be cruel
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie
What will you lend on an old golden rule
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie
I know there’s something much more
Something even non-believers can believe in
I believe in love, Alfie
Without true love we just exist, Alfie
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie
When you walk let your heart lead the way
And you’ll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie

 

ROMANCING MY SOUL

IMG_1914November mornings are good times to cuddle up to a cup of hot sweet Chai.  It warms up the innards and spices up the brain.  It makes you radiate sunshine even when it is dark as night out.  I’m glowing like Sheba’s ball.

I have discovered November is not the time to read serious, thought provoking short stories or books, no matter how much I admire the authors.  I’m putting away Alice Walker, Alice Munro and Carol Joyce Oates for more appropriate times.  They take me down dark rabbit holes.  Sunshine is what I crave.

IMG_1934Joy Fielding’s The First Time is what I am reading.  It is not a happy story.  It is a story of a woman in an unhappy marriage.  In the middle of all this, she discovers she has ALS. There is nothing happy about any of this and yet it does not take me to the dark place.  The book has been sitting on my book shelf for a long time – waiting for me, for the right time. There are treasures among my clutter.

It’s a restful read for a person who is restless and doesn’t know how to rest.  It takes me out of myself, out of my thoughts into the life of Mattie.  How does she cope with all her problems?  How does she cope with her diagnosis?  How does she cope with dying?  I am able to sit, read and live her days.  I can drop my nagging needling thoughts.  I’m learning to rest, to let go and be. My compulsions to control and for perfection are relaxed for awhile.

IMG_1908November is the time to cast aside my doubts, live and write freely and with heart.  I focus my attention to that one inch picture frame of Anne Lamott’s.  For this moment, I need only to pay attention to what I can see through that.  It’s a beautiful way to look at life – one picture frame at a time.  It’s living in the moment.  That’s all we can do.  Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is yet to come.  To live in regret for yesterday and yearning for the future is foolish and wasteful. WASTE NOT, WANT NOT is what I need to remind myself often.

November is the time to do all the things that make me feel good –  warm baths, hot soups, baguettes, hot chocolate, cookies, champagne.  It is a good time to romance my body and soul.

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A TIGHT FIX

It is Friday and time for Friday Fictioneers.   Every Friday we gather here to share our stories of 100 words from a photo prompt. We are hosted by the ever effervescent Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple.  Comments and constructive critiques are welcomed.

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Jean L. Hays
PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Jean L. Hays

She  squirmed uncomfortably in the back seat.  She was tightly wedged in on both sides – a skinny Canadian expat on her right and a big American woman on the left.

Sally shifted herself, pushing up on the roof for support.  She could hardly breathe.  She tried to lean back but was met with their unyielding luggage.

How did she get in this fix?  She would need the jaws of life to get her out of this.  She dared not look at the woman. It would start another flood of conversation and tears about the boyfriend again.

She counted the hours.