samedi, août 27, 2011

Jaycee Dugard's "Stolen Life"

If you are a parent, or simply have children in your life, you may have to put this book down often. But it is well worth a read. Her courage and persistence make one wonder about the mysteries of what it is to be human.

vendredi, août 26, 2011

No finer man

It's been one of those weeks.

Just another normal week in the Colosseum (also known as the dating arena).

A few days ago, I hit the jackpot.

Early one morning, someone contacted me with the message: "You're so sexy, I'd love to wake up next to you."

A message which he repeated, with slightly altered verbiage, the next day.

He was followed, in short order, by a guy who liked to be called "MrLonely" and a fellow whose photo showed him dressed up as a frontiersman with a gun. A big gun.

And no, I'm not implying anything. He wanted to go hiking with me.

The "sex talk" guy (see previous post) showed up, possibly just to chat.

It's enough to make a girl despise men -- until reason kicks back in, and I remember all the genuinely nice men I know in the flesh.

Knowing the reality, I don't allow myself to open the door to dreaming very often. But when I do imagine falling in love, here's where I go...

He'd be intelligent, interested in the world, a reader, a thinker (though he doesn't have to have collected a motley crew of degrees to prove he can sit in a classroom and pay tuition like me.)

He'd be playful, irreverent, sometimes willing to push the boundaries of good taste, but knowing when to step back over the line.

He'd be a seeker -- willing to ask the questions, whatever answers he came up with.

He'd be fit, though not fanatic -- and quietly adorable (you'd never guess it, but I'm reticent about the people I genuinely care for).

He'd ponder learning from his mistakes and help me learn from mine -- we are all a little barnacled in middle-age.

How would it happen? I'd fall in spite of myself, almost without knowing it. The journey wouldn't happen overnight. Getting to know him would challenge my prejudices, shallowness, defensiveness.

Falling would be intuitive rather than calculated -- surprising, wonderful.

We'd teach each other what we haven't managed to learn along the road as well as sharing a common table.

It would be multidimensional wouldn't be tried-and-true. This would be new land for both of us.

Love wouldn't be easy. I don't expect it to be quick. But it would be passionate, gentle, stormy, deep.


This uncharted land of dreams is very dangerous -- full of dragons and witches, storms and riddles.

So it is only in my dreams that I let myself wonder...listening to a call beyond reason.

In the territory of the enchanter, I am defenseless. Which is why I won't let myself go there much.

Listening in daylight for what my heart tells me during the night...and trying to barricade it up again.

mardi, août 23, 2011

A lonely male voice, across the miles

"well, sometimes i really get the urge to talk to u, in some form or another.
at lonely times, i guess.
i would not abuse the
privelidge, i promise."

That was the message waiting for me in my inbox yesterday when I returned to the house.

Now, such an email would have been touching as a (private) missive between lovers.

It would have warmed my heart to hear this from someone I'd known for a long time -- someone with whom I was comfortable. It could have been a meaningful token of intimacy.

But I didn't know this guy. Because he lived too far away, we'd messaged each other a few times. I'd shared that I was a writer, and an ordained minister. I'd told him (with just a hint of anxiety) where he could find my articles. He was a Christian, he was "born again," but he seemed very open to other points of view.

And now he wanted my cell phone number.

The old Elizabeth would have wondered at his loneliness. The woman I was once might have tried to find a way to help him.

During my evening run, I wrestled with what to write. But I didn't really debate.

When I got back, I sat down and wrote: "You don't know me. You know my image. I'm sorry, but you need to find a real woman who is closer. You seem like a sweet guy."

This past week I've heard from a few men really attracted by my profile. Some of them contact me online, just to chat.

My guess? They can see that could be empathetic, and they need someone to listen. Simply listen. That, in itself seems innocent...but it is also taxing.

Where I once was a person who would stop and engage a guy in conversation that I knew would lead nowhere, I'm not that woman anymore. Or I'm trying not to be.

I'm not being compassionate to myself when I hang out and advise.


And I'm not, long-run, being compassionate to them -- they need to find ways to help themselves.

More disturbing is the appeal of a persona, an imago, a carefully constructed fantasy.

There is so much loneliness out there, such a roiling blend of feeling, and we have such strange ways of filling it. Right now, I'd rather walk in solitude than distract myself.

I know I sound rather hard-boiled.

Part of it is a front. The other part is that some fools will learn in no school but that of the one they attend through experience.

I got up from the computer and looked around.

Now where the heck was my novel?

lundi, août 22, 2011

Adventures among the Juggalos

Being a parent of teen means learning something new at least once a day.

It may not be what you wished to learn. It might require that you move way beyond what you consider normal.

But you're just the parent...who asked ya, anyway?

No more Kool-Aid

"I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid," I cheerfully told my daughter last week -- and then realized she had no idea what I was talking about.

That's just one of the small humiliations of being a parent -- knowing that your child's frame of reference doesn't include one of the formative events of the 19th -- oops, I mean 20th century.

And yes, I was being a bit hyperbolic.

But since my readers aren't teens (though we all often act like them), I will assume you know what I mean.

The DQ has a point-of-view which has worked well for her -- she's got a way of wrapping her dad and me, to some extent, around her pretty fingers.

As I said a few posts before this, when it comes to her strategies vis a vis her dad and me, I'm not buying her version of reality any longer.

This has been, and continues to be, a summer of Texas-sized (God help us) change in our family.

And I'm trying to make the changes that I can affect for the better.

In terms of my personal life, from friends to lovers, I've often been, to steal a great word from a scientist I heard on NPR, a "possibilitarian." Intrigued by people in their diversity and in their weakness, I am vulnerable to the unusual, the strange, the different.

I wish, sometimes, that I could be meaner. My deficit in this regard can be laid at the door of my obsessive need to analyze and understand.

Is to understand all, or a lot more, to forgive more? That's a difficult question, particularly when it comes to a family member or a potential friend or boyfriend.

I'll try to be more discerning - that bar of possibility is going to be much higher. In her case, I know I need to be less self-critical, more willing to stand up for what is both in her best interest and in mine.

Imagine me as a tough broad. Go ahead. Odder things have happened.

In my own clumsy, halting way, I'm trying to implement what I've observed, to learn from the bumps and bruises.

One can't rewrite the past -- though we all try.

But learning from our mistakes can shape the future.

Is it true that those who don't understand their past are doomed to repeat it? Heck, you might end up repeating your mistake whether you understand it or you don't.

But I'd like to believe that now that I've put down the Kool-Aid I drank in various personal relationships, even with those I love, I'll find a healthier drink -- one that nourishes instead of saps.

Or drinks.

For if one is good, well, two has to be better.