Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Are the Stars out Tonignt?

      They say (and don't you always wonder who 'they' are?) that words are the control mechanism for one's personal magic.  Indeed, this notion is by habit hammered home to one's children and grandchildren.  Would that the spiffy club of Madison Avenue 'ad' folks subscribed to and considered it when penning their messages, entreaties and 'plugs' to the public.  Before sharing today's thoughts with you, I should like to call attention to some word usages that were better left idle.
       Without 'naming names', (you know who you are) there has been an anemic campaign - befitting its subject - afoot to market an overnight/week inn that has the target audience believe there are great minds and clever wordsmiths culled from the higher institutions of writing, such as they may be, assembling in Spartan rooms, legal pad at the ready as well as an imagery net to snare only  the catchiest of phrases out of the literary ephemera for uses most befitting their product needs and their targets' agenda/capacity for understanding the English language.  In one such think tank setting, a somewhat brash, confident, self-aggrandizing, and apparently easily entertained guru 'takes the floor' (rather than his leave, which would have been the more humane move) to subject his audience, uninspired fools all, to THE answer to this day's charge, spouting meaningfully  and, were it not so pathetic an offering, smugly, "Batta-Book, Batta-Boom!".
       That this outburst is greeted with less than his anticipated enthusiasm is right up there with the reaction of the South when Sherman marched through Atlanta.  Dauntless in spirit as he is witless in expression, our boy leers about the room with eyes settling upon those of his cohorts, slowly and deliberately as only those who are patient/kind to their inferiors can do.  (Odd, don't you think?  For in truth this young turk most likely believes he's never had any.  Inferiors, that is.)
       Moreover, the bruise to our language is converted quickly and smoothly to a deep, life-threatening laceration by the fact that save ONE daring doubter, speaking in the dulcet tones of the meek and inexperienced, ("Don't you think we should mention something about our low prices ?") the gathering submits in silence, punctuated by the smallest, youngest sycophantic outburst from  a bespectacled, non-cunning little shaver clad in conservative office-ware's, "I like it.", which elicits the expected boom from our leading buffoon of, "Hire him!"
       As a  nation that's been watching millions of immigrants sail under Lady Liberty's armpit, her fearlessly-welcoming torch held high lo these past seven or eight decades or so, transforming them into proud Americans who would, live, grow, mate, procreate and speak English in their adopted land, we deserve more than "Batta-Book, Batta-Boom" when we are holding ourselves out to the world through an advertising campaign.
       We demand proper diction from our children and more than a passing acquaintance with their vernacular; we have been proud to incorporate those very same immigrant names and families into our culture; we nod approvingly and with pride as we call out their names as the brave who have given their lives in heated, ugly battle for this country.  Do we dare now, having produced genius as well as men and women happy to make  the Ultimate Sacrifice, stoutly put forth, "Batta-Book, Batta-Boom" as the best we have to offer?
       In deference to patience (yours) and sensibilities (mine AND yours), I shall leave "Eat More Chiken" or whatever for another outing.  Today, we celebrate our Independence (and thank God it wasn't won in a spelling bee or judged by a grammarian).  More in tune with that celebration, my thoughts were waxing more astral than asinine today. (Take note of tense usage there.)
       In honor of words, as they march along our pages bearing our thoughts, it seems now that my own birthing has become an indistinct anachronism, that taking time to reflect and record this living may have merit.  With that humble goal, seventy-year-old thoughts were attempting to form such a reflective piece recently.
       Perched quietly ("Listen" and "Silence" have the same number of letters.  Coincidence?) in my study, poised to commit thoughts to paper and fling them onto my .NET, when SHE, the 'passing-by-thought-I'd-stop-in-intruder arrived, with the force of an un-forecasted hurricane.  The room, it contents, my quill and I shuttered with such force from the vibrations, those 70 year-old thoughts were fractured upon impact with the pages.
       From an off-center pacemaker or five, word fragments flew, vying for speed and dominance in contorted paths  - now straight, now spiraling, here up, there down - and when given sound/voice/escape, produced NOT the uttered catharsis of artistic expression but noise that pushed the line between cacophony and chaos.
       Listeners knelt in fervent benediction, praying for a spate of discernible, meaningful, peaceful  lines to soften the impact of this writer's frenetic  oration.  Some quietly fled, quit the cool comfort of mosaic tiles underthongs, embracing the hot, slate, cracked sidewalks and skirting the pot-holed tar crossings in a frantic, desperate/disparate (your pick) hunt for the sound of silence.  Pausing at the corner of Walk and Don't Walk, they came upon a stubble-faced, toothless old man, Frank, peddling his warm, soft, salted pretzels.  He smiled his encouragement.  The taste of freedom would sate their need, help them swallow those last echoes of her neurotic banter.
       She permitted herself a pause: I can't control the wind but I can control the sails.  In pursuit of a 'bridge over troubled water', she took leave of her home, seeking the rhythm of the sea, the heat of a carpet of sand.  Greeted by the sleek rainbow shining down and from the massive mural, dominating the cathedral-ceilinged great room of the cottage, her childhood pierscape of the 59th Street Bridge yelled a Brooklyn "Back-atcha!".  She was 'feelin' groovy'.
       No longer exquisitely bored, she applied some sonic experimentation via Simon and Garfunkel gifts to the soul to herself and to the task at hand.  She would  have the tools to write here.  The grim latitudes of Suffolk that caused 'writer's block' - when the people in your head stop talking to each other - were back 'at the Zoo'.  All the thoughts in her heart, straining to be released and shared would skip over the boulders of obstruction and tumble out, freed from that toxic confusion of interruption by man and machine. 
"Staying long?", a shout-out from neighborly voices.  In and out, fro and to the familiarly desultory escape into a silent, inner-self writing, with, not under, the stars,
"For the Listeners and Livers Still Waiting To Be Born".
Later, Kathy, Mary, et al. . . . .

Monday, June 19, 2017


       In 1926, Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" was published by Scribners under the masterful editorial guidance of Max Perkins.  Prior to publication, two editorial discussions were held by author and editor.  The first dealt with words and  phrases - Profanities which the editor felt might cause suppression of the book at the time.
       The second focused on the book's epigraph in which Hemingway wanted to juxtapose a comment of Gertrude Stein, referring to young artists of the day as the "lost generation " with a passage from Ecclesiastes containing the words:
One generation passeth and another generation
cometh; but the earth abideth forever. The sun  also riseth, and the sun goeth down, and resteth to the place where he arose.
Thus the genesis of the title was in the Old Testament, punctuating the author's theme of the relationship between the earth (abiding) and its people  (transient).
       Not unexpectedly, reactions to the book focused heavily on the editorial discussion.  Papa's word choice and characterizations were seen as scandalous-SALACIOUS even, vulgar  and a reflection of the values and judgment of their publisher.  Perkins bore the burden of response to this negative epistolary reaction.
       In one such justificational elaboration he shared an observation with the irate reader.  To wit, there were two common positions held with regard to books like this.  The first feels vice should never be presented in literature openly  as it is unpleasantly evil.  The second sees the open presentation of vice as valuable because it is evil and ugly and if known will be avoided but if concealed/ignored, it dons a "false glamour which is seductive."
       In a not so distant artistic presentation, a TV series, "The Sopranos", enjoyed a long and avid following.  Its depiction of the Italian Family Mob activities was graphic and violent and seemed to weave these qualities into the same cloth used to fabricate the characters that peopled the domestic families of its protagonists.  Perhaps a majority of one, this observer, an Italian New Yorker, found everything about this artistic gestalt  to be repulsive as well as inaccurate.  Different strokes?  One wonders with detached curiosity.
       Perhaps a decade has passed since the end of this weekly injection of unadulterated vice which, as  noted, was mainlined by a large and enthusiastic audience.  Time has not dulled my guttural, near violent opposition to its popularity.
       Currently, our nation-hood by hood-is all a-whisper about this  'vice scene 'on our very own streets  - in demonstrations where the sit-in has devolved into the 'smash-in'; in minor criminal behavior where the young shoplifter has placed guns and machetes into his sticky fingers; where the major crime scene now eliminates not one or five with direct or friendly fire and bullets but rather mows down a crowd of unfortunates happening in their wake; and most recently, we have the crudely hollow but loud roar of opposition to elected officials by many who at one time applauded "The Sopranos ".  This last phenomenon culminated in a "family-style" takeout hit of adult innocents on a baseball field where the victims were practicing for an upcoming charity fund-raiser.      
       The perp apparently stalked and skulked for months; vice concealed/ignored, seduced him in much the same way that legendary sirens seduced seamen.  And yet, to this observer, his may be the smallest brush stroke in this portrait of vice.  The mute acceptance, nay encouragement, of the hate-spewing, destructive, senseless, mean-spirited  cast of thousands of miscontents-turned- miscreants will flood the canvas with grease paint as the crowd-killing of a nation unfolds .
       Oh, for the days when vice was unpleasant and ugly and calling a fictional  character like Lady Brett a bitch in print threatened to suppress a book's publication.  "The Sun Also Rises" was banned in Boston.  The non-lady bitches in our congress speak at podia with amplification.

Later, Lorane. . . . .

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I'm No Fiddler!

       I've heard that Nero played his fiddle while Rome burned.  Guess he demonstrated his lack of the ability to multitask when matters of import were occurring on the world stage.  Well, far be it from me to criticize.  Obviously, I can't UNItask (continue on an awkwardly begun, well-intentioned writing catchup even.). ADHD does that to one.
       But today, in that I actually completed what was to be a written communique, in person, in real time, I turn my attention - such as it is - to current international events.  To wit, (whom I hardly know), on the increasingly, potent, frequent and ugly extremist attacks on innocent, unsuspecting, helpless victims on this same 'Nero' world stage.
       I heard an angry, determined law enforcer commenting on the abattoir recently created in Manchester, UK.  He said, "They have a moral elevator that has no bottom floor."  I am moved to respond:
(To be performed atop the fetid, sunk remains of the losers during their impudent 'victory' gavotte)

   We must leap onto the 'retribution/redemption' escalator set to propel the globe's 'people-mover' to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, leaving an endless 'magic carpet', piled with the packed carcass bits of gratefully dead and condemned, having been ferociously slain while quaking in fearful anticipation, their very beings infused with the approaching symphonic song of annihilation that would be followed by the blissful and cherubic cheers drowning out their eternal sounds of silence. 
       The Roman poet  Horace wrote, "Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero." His admonition has been translated, "Seize the day, trust as little as possible in tomorrow.". Horace, obviously a man of action, wasn't allowing any moss to gather under his 'stones'.  That's how he rolled.  As to his decision, it seems a prudent course.  Indeed, the  more likely and proximate harm becomes, the more passionately we may wish to adopt his lexicon.  You can certainly count me in.  I'm no fiddler!
Later, Lorane. . . . .  




Friday, May 5, 2017

Here's To The Lady Who Lunched , The Spirited Men Who Joined Her, Unsinkables and "Always Dreamin'".

       The birth of this new month is etched on my heart by its being the start of my second post operative week, having  had  foot surgery the week previous .  Home alone.  So  much time.  I used it to entertain  - lavishly - the many thoughts I've been  wanting to  share with neglected loved ones.  But the  'party' never came off as it sadly lacked the action verb - share.
       Here we are, then, dear readers, at week's end and as the inimitable Dorothy Parker spat in response to her proferred party invitation, "Oh, are you entertaining?", "Not very.".  Worse yet, my neglected loved ones deserve better lest they begin to see themselves  as forgotten, shunned even.  In a paltry attempt at mimicry - imitation  being the highest form of praise, I shall adopt an acid-tongued, clever story-telling style used by Ms. Parker in her column/poetry proliferative years.
       She told several stories at once using (known in cardiology as 'interpolation' or an extra heart beat 'fitting' between two normal ones without disturbing the rhythm).   Post operative foot notwithstanding  I shall leap over Dorothy's acuity (fat chance), incorporating a 'crowd'.  Many loved ones. Very little time.  No appreciable attention span (you may recall.  Or not.)
       (On the first rumination day, I was haunted by thoughts of my dear, thespian friend, Marty McGaw, whom I've not seen in years but spoke with two years ago on the occasion of the tragic, sudden death of  one of  her beautiful sons (Sandy).  Karma guided me to my desk - ostensibly for stationary and I stumbled upon a haltingly begun emotionally abandoned letter which I give to her now:
'Marty, et al,  There are no words - save those that the levelled and bereft must continually come up with to fill the never-ending voids generously offered by 'The Comforters'.  Ere long you become a turnstyle easing another group of "I-don't-know-what-to-sayers" down and through, oozing along with an occasional, "Yes. Henceforth I shall be sloshing my Alaskan King Crab legs around in the salty, down home bath of my tears.".
I keep a notebook - but promise to write directly to you clearly as soon as my heart can handle clarity - titled, "Ridiculously Good Ideas".  Last week's entry: RANDOM THOUGHTS - THE SANDY 'HAPPY LIFE FORMULA'.
If we could see life as a spectrum, with SPLENDOR at one end and TRAGEDY at the other, what would the diagram look like? (work with me here, Marthena.  Picture a horizontal, bisected paramecium with words in each section.)  On the left or SPLENDOR Side: finding the right life partner; good health for you and your family; freedom/opportunity to move around to tropical climes; surviving/overcoming daily annoyances. Now the right or TRAGEDY Side: moving ahead after a crisis; losing a long-held job unexpectedly; leaving a listless, apathetic spouse; raising young kids by yourself; dying young.
Does 'feeling happy' require discipline?  How or should or need one maintain a large, transparent perspective?  Is that the trick, Sandy?  Or is that too unrealistic an aspiration for the average, non-Sandy Mac who can barely remember to buy toothpaste in the drugstore?
Guess I developed 'writers block'.  The people in my head stopped talking to me and each other.  We had to 'take it on the road' for a year or so while you were taking it on the chin.  But I'm preaching to the choir.  Of all beautiful, temperamental souls, you most of intimately understand the crippling quirks of the artist.)
       Dorothy Parker once put forth in a poem,
"For art is a form of catharsis, And love is a permanent flop.".  I would have given those lines to Sandy but she saved the piece , "Comment" for him, as do I:
"Oh, life is a permanent  cycle of song, A medley of extemporanea; And love is a thing that can never go wrong; And I am Marie of Roumania."
       (Sandy's Life Song:

Will of necessity be garbled in the morn.  A night of brain rest is a-bornin'.
Later, Lorane. : . .

Saturday, April 15, 2017


       Sometimes, when you just have to bite the ole 'responsibility bullet', put the laundry in, scrub that burnt grilled cheese crust off the still-soaking pan and get the veggies ready for steaming, it's a tad less tedious if you have the TV on (volume very loud) in the background.  Sometimes.
       Now there are alternative 'carrots'.  Like today, I made reservations to fly North and visit the daughter and her fam who said "No!" to being a Southerner.  It was a fun chat with a travel agent - an Idaho native.  She was pleasant, funny and professional and, obviously, when faced with the 'big question', she decided to leave her hometown hood for a barely-remembered local to drive around in a 16-wheeler, repeatedly losing the truck and the huge baking potato splayed across its middle.
       You may recall, we recently moved to a decidedly rural, picturesque, prosaic area of Virginia. Indeed, I get lost when driving along one white-gated pasture after another.  I could just kick myself because my parents weren't Holsteins!  City-raised, ambling through this overdose of NATURE does nothing to improve my already bruised mental status so a retreat from the un-natural world of TV advertising has become a nonpareil when it was once non-existent.
       Today, I was treated to a head shot of a whining young married posing the question that must be consuming her sisterhood, "Ladies, are you as tired of NOT being able to find the perfect, most comfy recliner for your hubby as me?". (That's not even rhetorical.  Unbelievable comes to mind.)
       This travesty was soon hooked, replaced by a pert and serious journalist giving us the heads-up on what we may have time to learn- today's news.  Her selected 'MO' was the 'no-lead-in-snippet-of-the-meat-of-the-matter'.  Alabama's governor was seen sourly baring his conscious - smothered in rural,garden-fresh garni from his estranged wife's new green bank account.  It seems our remorseful state leader is stepping down, having stepped in and out with one of his underling aides.  Back to the ADS, pu-leez!
       There is that poor dear literally hopping up from her seat in the center of a theater row, whispering embarrassed, "Excuse mes" as she is pulled down and forward in her trek to the aisle, apparently at the insistence of  of an animated, bloated, determined bladder.  After enduring several such humiliating exits, she takes a stand (and presumably a seat) wit, "That's it.  We're going to the doctor.".
       And she's not alone in facing absurd resolutions.  The asthmatics, the forgetful, the overweight, short of breath, blood-clotters, joint achers, complexion-pocked, heart-beat blocked eve, the sleep under-stocked - all malingerers NOT to the malaprops flock - your friendly PHARMACIST.  He's got the stuff - that gels your feet when you can't jump, that tells your heart how fast, slow or strong to pump. The MAN.
       The medication, information and cost for this remediation concludes the cheering and he goes on to 90% of what he's to say - the AUCTIONEERING!  His tongue came to the fork in the road - and he took it - and us.  
       That yellow brick road was fun but don't kid yourself into thinking you won.That road morphs to quick (very quick) sand, and you're swallowed into the dire,fatal even,things that can possibly - indeed already may have - happened, befell the cure-taker. Buyer beware.  You can lose more than your hair.  If brevity is the SOUL of lingerie, CYA-jargon is at the very HEART of the "info-mercial" that 'drapes' to the point of smothering you MEDICAL HEART.  I wound up  catching too many glimpses of insanity-pushing and no diversional and really helpful data.
       I tell folks we moved to the "Plantation".  I've counted 14 spots per night dealing with death and burial preceded by spots pushing 'company/care/sequestration' for the older set, the soon-to-be planted.  Their "NATURAL HABITAT"?  Think I'll take a solo trip to a weekend spa, then come back, rested, but not bested.  And just munch on the ole 'responsibility bullet'.  Ya know?
Later, Lorane. . . . 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Stray Thoughts

       Been a while since last we met.  People - family and friends - are askin', "What's up?".
       Thinking, mostly.  It's good to stop and take stock every now and then - especially when another year of living is about to become history.  Catalogued, as it were.
       Be warned, dear friends however, that mine is a living and thinking of parentheticals, ellipses, dashes.  This because whereas most folks, be they right or left-brained (the 'right' thinking logically, rationally; the 'left' thinking metaphorically, I think), still maintain a fellowship with consistency, order, flow and relatedness.  When they write or tell a story or describe an encounter, the reader or listener or visualizer follows them.  They understand.  They 'get it'.  They can imagine, if only analogously.
       My constant companion, the 'good fellow' I hail is known today as "ADD" or attention deficit disorder.  Arguably, the single thought process or mode of expression or descriptive ability that I consistently 'maintain' is the IN ability to 'stay on point', shall we say to completion.  Moreover, this phenomenon is ill-suited to my gender as the end point for women IS completion unlike that for men which is perfection (To be sure, many of my married sisters would experientially argue this point.)
       So, it would seem I'm a majority of one in a 'non-category' of folks.  That said, (BTW, have you noticed lately that respected, educated people, when speaking a response, begin their peroration with the word "so"?  What's up with that?), I can embark on sharing my "What's up?" utilizing every arrow in my quiver of loose associations, flights of ideas and oxymorons consoled by the knowledge that the recipients of this malapropismic outpouring, armed with the ability to discern that some sequitors are perfectly logical and some are non, will select with ease the material intended/enriching/informing for them, casting inapplicable detritus aside.
       My dearest buddy from high school, Kathy, whose friendship and personality I love AND admire, is presently the object of a rarely felt emotion by me - jealousy. (And why are some window blinds dubbed "jealousy"?  I welcome any and all takers.)  She, with hubby Will, are in Florida, having extended their annual visit with the ONLY one of their seven children who does NOT live close to their home in New York.  Kathy's rheumatoid arthritis fares better in the warm clime and she immerses herself in the morphed relationship of friendship with Elizabeth who, by virtue of age plus the longevity/depth of her many other virtues, has become more of a confidante than daughter.
       This new found but predictably gratifying development is definitely in the 'more-bang-for-your-buck' category - rather like the little 'roadmap' that Russel Stover illustrates (I've seen examples) on the inside of the lids of their boxes - a reassuring, more enjoyable type of indulgence of "quality ingredients in small batches" - one that insures both participants that they'll NOT 'get into' something unappealing.
       Of my three children, two live close by but are struggling through some rough patches presently and the third lives in Boston (buffeted by an Eskimo Winter with all of its vagaries), well out of 'coffee clatch'-range but with her hubby and daring little troopers:

visit from VA cuz Emma

AND baby cuz ZOE below welcomed warmly by "The Troopers"

 "The Troopers" - MIA AND WES

Mia welcomes "chilly cousins"

       I DO relish decorating our new home for their anticipated visits, though.  I've recently 'bonded' with Martha Stewart (VERY unlikely bedfellows) in spirit as I certainly cannot afford her recherche concepts save a visit from The Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol.
       And I feel blessed by the proximity of the other six of our eight grandchildren, ranging in age from twenty-seven months to fourteen years.  Taking care of, playing with (when MY arthritic joints permit),talking and listening to as well as watching them at play and study is a priceless gift.  They are so close and caring with each other, share many of the same qualities and activities but evince impressive and strong individuality.
       The youngest - unplanned and to date, seemingly unbridled Zoe - currently stands out in the individuality arena.  It IS true (so scotch any kind rumors to the contrary) that several weeks ago, on a rare "Mommy and Daddy are gussying up to attend a fancy-dancy dress-up party hosted by Daddy's boss night", while Mommy was chatting with her and trying to find and apply some makeup, little Zoe was quietly (too quiet) 'borrowing Mommy's red nail polish to carefully paint her entire foot and toenails.  Hmmmm.  Decision time.  Dad in his tux; Mom, gown and heels.  Do we can the formal OR call and plead with the sitter to come early for a special 'cleanup' project.
       Their sitter ran with the ball and Mommy and Daddy danced the night away at theirs.  But.  This is the same little Zoe who happened to be with her parents, Granddad and coloring travel gear when, during a visit to very ill Paternal Grandmom, her doctor took the family into a conference room for the saddest of possible words (and they were NOT Tinker to Evers to Chance) with Zoe and her portable playroom in tow.  That she would remain seated, let alone quiet was a long shot.  Well, when they come in against big odds, long shots pay off big.  At some point, Granddad broke down.  Zoe, twenty-seven months of pure decorum, slid noiselessly out of her chair, walked the length of the conference table to a staunchly-seated but clearly beat Granddad, climbed up his very long legs, sat in his lap, arms around his neck and settled her soft towhead gently on his shoulder.
       This kind of precocious, loving, intuitive behavior is rarely seen - even among the non- astigmatic.  When one DOES see it, the proper response is the purchase of one or ten bottles of "Jungle Red" nail polish.  Just leave them in her crib, next to Lovey, turn on the humidifier and exit the room, silently pulling the door behind you.
       The VERY special ingredient in all of these grand parental (Grams to all but the Boston battalion.  Mia had trouble pronouncing the hard "g" when she started talking, so I'm 'Gigi' among the Yankees) relationships is the reciprocity.  I watch THEM learn and, in turn, learn FROM them.

             The Other Local Contingent

              The Local Contingent
       Theirs is a new world for me. While, of necessity, I appreciate (and take advantage of)  the advances in learning resources that propel their education, research and overall progress, I fully agree with author Charlotte Moss who tells us, "It requires discipline to power off and not get sucked into the digital rabbit hole.".
       I take every opportunity to stress the importance of - every now and then - doing what they consider some very old-fashioned things to jump start their minds, their souls and get the creative juices flowing.  When they become frustrated and whine about NOT being able to select an essay topic, I remind them to slow down, to allow themselves to fully experience their "now" - take a walk down an old street when they are on a field trip, really see how people used to live, smell the air, stare at the crowds, listen, eavesdrop, commune with the stars, BE INSPIRED. These are the experiences that will become the memories that influence, define the rest of their lives.
       (I still recall with a chuckle what a pro my paternal grandfather was at 'defusing' a potentially unattractive scene involving him and his spouse, Grandma Stella.  My recollection is, of course, based on eavesdropping - a habit of which he was acutely aware.  On one of our compulsory two week "whole family" vacations to a forgettable Jersey 'resort', he had JUST finished pitching baseballs to his four sons, at least two of whom were quite athletic.  None of them could hit him - left or right-handed. He lay down on the grass, arms crossed in total self-satisfaction (which ANY observant onlooker would say was highly deserved), when Granma Stella approached, shattering the glow of his sunny-day victory with a dismissive mutter of, "Willie.  Time to wash up for suppa.". (I daresay Stella's mudder was no girl's best friend)
       Of course Granpa ignored her.  And of course she persisted times three as she stealthily approached.  FINALLY, he uttered with the perfect smidge of indignance, "Stella.  Can't you see I'm talking to the Sun?"  Never even opened his eyes. Noting no support forthcoming from her audience, she stomped off, one foot collecting an unnoticed cow pie.
       His other diffuser (what with the little ones afoot and all ears) was song.  Indeed.  Stella would attempt to goad him into an argument about a long- forgotten, inconsequential disagreement (an all-inclusive category)  and he would spin around, hand over chest, crooning, "Ya gotta GIVE a little, TAKE a little, and let (down on one knee) your poor heart BREAK a little. . ." followed by applause from the kids and a bow from him and - ready? - a mudder from Stella.  My favorite was his rendition of  "Peg 'o My Heart, I love ya. . .". None of the other kids thought that one was funny.  And it wouldn't have been had her name been Margaret. The point is, the guy - the MEMORY of the guy - has been topic and character and behavior fodder for yours truly for a lifetime.  Hope you get the chance to catch my "Second Hand Rose" some day.)
       So, when my 'grands' can't come up with a topic, can't articulate a design scheme, convey/describe a color - they can turn to their 'hard drive' of experience, of really being present in their "now".
       When my fourteen year-old grandson asked me why it was so hard for him to come up with an idea for an essay while his dad could easily think of five right off the top of his head, I told him it was part longevity and part recalling experiences with  clarity and exactitude because he'd taken the time to fully appreciate the present moment.  (So much so that he earned himself a 'gentleman's C' at Georgetown but an A plus in 'person'.)
       By way of example and as a means of giving him something to which he could relate, I shared/gave him one such example that I own.
       I had the privilege to know (well) the "mental coach" of the US Olympic Diving Team during the era of the inimitable Greg Luganis. It was during the few years following Greg's terrible accident, crashing his head into a platform during a badly-timed/executed very high and difficult dive.
       Coach thought he'd never climb that ladder again.  I was in Florida with Greg and his mental coach when Greg was helping coach our team for an upcoming competition.  I asked him - during a break in their daily twelve-hour practice.  "Greg, how did you ever have the guts to get up and, after the doc cleared you, climb that ladder AND execute a perfect Gold Medal dive?".
     His response:   " I looked at Frank (the mental coach).  He approached me and in his gentle, dulcet voice said, 'Greg.  Try to remember what it felt like when you did it right.'"
       Greg had been coached to fully experience every important life challenge.  He closed his eyes for a moment, then calmly and fearlessly began the longest of ladder climbs to the platform from which he was to execute the Gold Medal dive.  He never heard the crowd.  His focus was completely on the memory of what it felt like to do it right.  With this vivid memory, he perfectly executed the best First Place dive of his life.
       Like Greg, dear readers, die really KNOWING SOMETHING.  You are not here long.
Later, Lorane. . . . 


Saturday, January 7, 2017

My Wildest Dreams

       Shouts of "Happy New Year!" have been heard in spates since the first of January - at least in my limited experience. And you can be certain that such ãn outburst would never be initiated by yours truly. (Just as certain as my ignorance of why that diacritical mark landed on the letter 'a' in the word "an".) This because within hours, often minutes, I would be told tacitly by an eager eavesdropper that the recipient of my ebullient greeting had lost his dog the previous day.
       I am puzzled by this perceived lack of uniformity with regard to 'happiness wishing' by known passersby. As a population, are there segments among us 'waiting for the other shoe to drop ', thinking "what's the point?"; could there be superstition afoot? Preoccupation? Heretofore unknown malevolence lurking in their 'over-the-shoulder' opinion bags? Gradual hearing loss? A trend toward insularity fueled by the unhappy accompanying spate of violence? General malaise? Asparagus? WHAT?
       Pondering this phenomenon the other night, I thought, "Never in my wildest dreams have I considered experiencing such behavior.". Pause. (mental drum roll) "Have I any wild, let alone superlatively so, dreams?" Statistically, they surely exist, but live in the young or lonely. As I tend to treasure solitude, if I had wildest or even wild dreams, it was so long ago, I've forgotten them. And more's the pity, as they could have been rather entertaining doozies!
       Ironically, I often admonish my grandchildren , "Dream Big!" Sad realization indeed to think the 'admonisher' dreamt not at all.
But she did. From the moment I spied my babysitter Aunt's Underwood typewriter, I went into a child's forbidden trance. (Forbidden because kids from Brooklyn don't 'do' trances.) "Someday, I'm going to be a writer." (Whilst dear Aunt Stephie was yelling, "Don't bang on the piana!")
       Piana indeed. I'd given my regards to Broadway in the form of seeing Camelot and My Fair Lady twice each - payola from my older brother - my senior by five years, for grabbing the NYU grade postcards and handing them over to him before the parents got home from work. Why Camelot and My Fair Lady? 'So's I wouldn' be sayin' things like "piana" or yellin'.
       Guess I had some wildest dreams after all. Well, wild anyway. I'm writing this blog. "Wildest" would be having avid, devoted readers, after being published in 'grown-up people books. My lot, it would seem, is more akin to Dorothy Parker's retort to an evening soirée invitee's query, "Oh. Are you entertaining?" "Not very." The latter remark was Dorothy's.
       For the record, then, my little grandpeeps, Grams DID have "wildest dreams" and for you, dear readers, I should like to apologize for my shocking breach of taste in not wishing each (or both) of you the HAPPIEST EVER OF NEW YEARS!
Later, Lorane. . . . .

Saturday, November 5, 2016


       Well.  As students often muse while closing the final page of their essay 'blue books', "I gave it my best shot.".  In truth, "Entire Week" is marquee-worthy on 'The Great White Way'.  But since my misadventures (You go girl.  The standout among underplayers refusing to wait in the wings.) would be but a brimming basket of tedium for you, your lot is to be spared.  Hold fast this gift lest a feckless change of mind snatches your good fortune. 
       On this date in what has become my youth, we were blessed with the birth of our second child.  For us, the preceding seven years had been a harrowing succession of attempts, failures and the sad finality inherent in knowing we were to be the parents of a single child.  (Our son sent a sad text this morning, the anniversary of what he's fond of calling "The Golden Age".)  Words fail (Imagine!) whenever I try to express the emotions, actions, changes, relationships - the  gestalt of experiences attendant to this 'business of parenting'.
       This morning I was speaking with an accomplished, beautiful, married, mother of two delightful children (full of the 'devil', as they say), who is a most successful professional in the medical arena which has additionally rendered her a world traveler and had to keep reminding myself that I was still also speaking with that shrieking, slippery, black-haired baby miracle who from the dawning of her exciting, loving, caring life showed a determination, spirit and destiny directed to keeping 'things' right - HER way - much like the Julia, the Grandmother for whom she is named.
Pity,the lack of cooperation by this 'machine'regarding the photos.We tell our eight grandchildren to develop an interest in a serving profession Mia and Wes charm Santa
because it is highly doubtful that robots will ever have the ability to care.  (To which seven year-old Patrick moaned,"I'd HATE to be a WAITER!").
       And all of this happiness I've had writing this jaunty little piece this afternoon was trebled by preoccupation with shady thoughts of finding out I actually didn't need a new prescription for glass lenses.  Rather - and far more exotic - is the foreboding news that I've been using a magnifying glass to read because of VERY early stage ( Odd. I'm generally LATE for everything.) macular degeneration.  We'll just see about THAT. Ha! I had already selected killer frames.

       AND. That silly rash I've had on my legs since I got ONE rose bush thorn in my shin ( taken out and washed and treated with antibiotic ointment right away) while removing the six rose bushes planted by the builder's landscaper who had orders NOT to plant ANY flowering shrubs.  That was February.  Been a long, hot, pale Spring and Summer.

       On the other hand, 1) it makes for decent copy, 2) I love surprizes.  They're 'SPECIAL', and 3) YOU get to 'live' it, too. That's how WE roll. 

Later, Lorane. . . .

Thursday, September 8, 2016

THOMAS - At Seventy-Five, The Story is Still Happening

      This young guy walks into, 1978 (running, even walking too brusquely may have caused suspicion, detention, delay) and with a resolved sense of determination to become 'more involved in mankind' precipitated by a hastily-made New Year's resolution, he excitedly embarks on the execution of the answer to his fervent prayer - "God, show me what I am to make of this world.".
       Many, too many of his years had been wasted in pursuit of 'finding himself', ferreting out his personal karma.  Now, certain he had arrived and was comfortable with 'his way of being in the world', it was time to negate immersion in 'Self' for the higher, nobler purpose of helping others out of darkness into the bright light of comfort and confidence, trampling on pain and despair en route.  Thomas would embrace psychiatry , dedicate his being to the daunting clinical treatment of that suffering population of 'hapless losers' whom others avoided as a waste of their talents and time.
       I have been true friends with him for over forty years.  Mostly, we agree.  On one dominating opinion, however, we follow different drummers.  Thomas is a star in Dr. Freud's 'marching band'.  I have more of a 'Ringo-style' Dr. Carl G. Jung beat.  Over time, Thomas specialized in the treatment of adolescence.  (Of course, the standing joke, if you will, is my assertion that his choice was dominated by his personal development.)
       The admirable book he wrote on parenting, I feel, has an overall prescriptive nuance that is all too carelessly squandered elementally.  This because the reader has little or no exposure to his frame of reference.  However, it is very well-received.  What follows, then, is a tribute to Thomas' life work, writings and teachings while practicing as the finest, most-honored clinician I know.
       As is his want, (and in keeping with his astrological sign), Imam able to NEATLY divide his career/life into three areas: Adventure, Gratitude and Completion.  In his young years,I think, as John O'Donahue said, "I would love to live a lifelike a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.". Thomas' inquisitiveness and enthusiasm for 'doing', lived a life in full play, one of relished experience.  I would imagine he misses walking barefoot, toting posters decorated with bright colors, oil finger-painted 'things', gree shoes running in wheat fields, getting his baseball signed by his favorite St. Louis pitcher when that team played his hometown Giants and building shelters with treasures from his chest.
       But in 1978, aware of the closure of the Adventure part of his life, hehe concluded that one must let one's heart reveal you; you must let love uncover you.  This realization led to the conclusion that with collaboration and friendship, comes connection.  (I'm sure his relationship with his beautiful, loving wife reinforced this phenomenon.)
       His clinical methodology seems to be a simple 'show and tell'. For Thomas, beauty (healthy self-awareness and living in the present sans past negative baggage or future hopes) was too good to pass up.He also felt that good gets better - much the way as when one's tears roll down one's face during a poorly-executed aria one's performance is in effect an ensemble, and one's co-performers will carry the day or note - as good team members tend to do. In that he knew he did not exist in isolation, he was able to climb the rubbled, ruined walls like those of Rome t oday.
       Of course the Gratutude phase was born.  As he handed his sung song to those for and about whom he cared, he told them to play THEIR music.  The resulting, though at first halting, results were immensely gratifying. Of couse this process is far more complicated and precarious than it sounds.  For example, Thomas had constantly to be certain that imagery was separated from reality experience (a concept, I believe is called 'duality' in psychiatry.  For me, knowing that I am NOT the two soft-cooked eggs upon which I gaze is sufficient and find Thomas' emphasis on rhis element a tad tedious.).
       Nevertheless, I think, dear reaser, that you now know that Thomas was approaching Completion (Please stop that ebullience - out of respect for him).  But indeed, he was finally able to bring the LIVED,FOUND treasured and not forgotten knowledge to HIS life and the chapters on the pages of tho se of his patients. The response has been a thing of beauty to observe.  Thomas exudes LIFE and the fact that HE is still growing, has learned and known very extraordinary people during this time, continues to build - and with a healthier crew,has slowed down ONLY to let the entire Gestalt breathe and is ever anxious to DIVE into the new, to open, to reveal, connect and explore.
       Make what you need and find truly beautiful. This has been one - Thomas' story  It is time for yours.  
Happy B-Day, ole' man!
Later, Lorane. . . .

Saturday, September 3, 2016

May I Ask Who's Speaking?

          That this question was asked by me of me is - if nothing else - a justification for the title of this Blog.  I was in Barnes and Noble the other day on a specific mission - buy a basic but extensive book on sewing.  I'm not doing much with my mind lately, so I had decided to revive a craftamused myself with as a newlywed.
       Money being at a minimum, I'd decided to start by taking down drapes and using the material to recover our "House-Anything-But-Beautiful" black vinyl dining room chair seats.  I learned that all chair seats are 17 inches deep, had enough material, discovered the wonders of a staple gun and the chairs looked 'WOW'.
       At the time, the Navy had assigned us to Norfolk.  Hubby had been 'star-gaze' happy because after finishing Officers' Training School, the brand new Lt. Doctor had visions of using his surgical training on the floating hospital, The Hope.  (1969)  The Navy thought otherwise, pulled The Hope and gave 'glum-chum' Lt. Doctor and his Mrs. and baby son orders to report to Norfolk prior to embarking in 3 weeks to the Indian Ocean for 11 months with a fleet of destroyers going on a 'peace-keeping' mission.
       He was assigned to the flagship, the Harold J. Ellison under the command of a Commodore. (I thought the last one was Perry).  He'd be bunking with the ship's pastor.
       The enmity between the two began on day one as the fleet was being laded with 'good will' goodies for all ports of call.  Lt. Doc laded the English complete encyclopedia into his car (destined for a non-English-speaking nation) along with a pair of slolums earmarked for non-motor boat possessed Madagascar but less wasteful for building bookshelves for new sets of encyclopedia.
       Said enmity progressed on a steady course sparked by the numerous bartered purchases from carvings to carpets accumulated by the good Lt. Doctor. 
       Back at the 'ranch' oftownhouses reserved for officers, having wanly waived a wet fairwell to her spouse, the Mrs. and 9 month-old son set about writing to Lt. Daddy every day (Philip's missives often on the wall), and redecorating - at times to mask his messages -.
       With my staple gun fast becoming my new best friend, I took advantage of a White Sale at Sears, rushing home with my heavily-discounted two sets of lime green and yellow plaid single bedspreads and matching shams, using one for his 'big boy' bed transition and stapling the other on one of the walls.  
       I planned to use the extra sham - glued to a cheap white shade - but in the interim, cut a long, blue and white gingham robe in half and 'styled' it over a rod.  Perfect length to the sill.   I didn't notice the pocket facing the street side of the window.   Three other new Navy wives did, though, and took several weeks to decide which of them would play 'point-out-the-pocket'.  By then, my respectable, co-ordinating shade was hung and I was ahead 2 to 1 in the enmity department.
            Fast-forward to 2016, Barnes and Noble, new sewing book and while hunting for a sewing magazine in the 'self-improvement' section, I was distracted (terrible ADHD.  You've noticed.) by a magazine I'd never seen  and was certain it was an ill-fated blunder.   There was "Artful Blogging" and I had to have it to be certain I haven't been writing 'white-pockets-facing-the-street' metaphorically for lo these many years.
       I found my answer on page 19.   A successful, known blogger, discussing her various ploys to avoid dry cycles when creativity eludes her (like writers block when the people in your head stop talking to each other), "takes time off from social media" because ". . .it's too easy to look at other people's work in search of that elusive spark that can re-kindle creativity".
       Whew! My literary window treatments are winners by that standard.   I can't even find my page on Facebook much less an "elusive literary spark".  
       And as for successful bloggers, I say, "Whatever Floats Your Boat".  In 1971, when the fleet returned,  the Commodore was set with every test performed by Drs. Jellyfingers, the Lt. Doctor was now First Lt. Doctor having been high-lined to another destroyer to perform a life-saving appendectomy on a seaman (apparently the Commodore wasn't so lucky and got dunked), and in 2016 I may not be a successful, well-known blogger but I'm never lackingbat least three simultaneous conversations going on in my head.
Later, Lorane. . . . .

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Demonstrate - It's Your Right and Everyone's Watching

       The past month seems to have fast-forwarded itself, propelled by the very energy of its events.  The world stage was brimming with combustible and powerful sparks of conflicts, high emotions, tragedy, confusion - the stuff of an action-packed inferno.  Our nation's performance, a real page-turner, was dominated by the antics at two major political party conventions.  A gripping narrative, it was enhanced by the desultory alteration of genre.  Fiction and non, its cast of characters and their roles vied for audience acclamation with events and plot.
       Adding to this olio was the orchestration of riveting - though not always cogent - demonstrations and their demonstrators (ranging from pith to pit) ever integral to the calliope.  At times passionate; at others impassive; their constant could be noted as "show-stopping".  But the price of lingering was too often the missing of an important beat, so the show and its observers had to slog on.       One wonders, with idle curiosity (as the interest of energy conservation precludes the use of any more rigorous modifier), what compels these outbursts?
       Well, the wronged clearly need and are entitled to justice.  And righting a weong to selfis either innate or mastered as an art form at a very early stage of development.  Its beginnings are instinctual.  Show me a baby cub who won't reflexively claw and snarl at his perceived aggressor as he smugly culls the last of the honey from his sticky fur follicles from the remains of little cubby's smoothly retrieved sweet delicacy jar, carelessly tossed by some sated slob and I'll show you a Momma bear who has some serious street-talkin' to do with her 'taken' little urchin.  (This is the Mamma who used to run with The Porridge Boys so our little cub has to honor his Mamma's moniker.)
       The 'Conspiracy Crowds', who've been harboring - sub rosa suspicion and grudges now strongly sense a stimulus - a word, expression of opinion, an innocent reply which could have menacing overtones, a deviation from formerly-held ideas regarding problem-solving, issue priorities, tie color, hem length - and fertilize and cultivate it to full fruition. They turn what may have been just a hint of sub rosa doubts into a full-cast, symphonically performed production of The Little Shop of Horrors.  In that 'Faustian' classic about a flower shop owner trying to make ends meet in New York's Skid Row (in our scenario, to win a presidential election, if you will - or not) into: "The real focus, here, folks, is Audrey." 
       (In Little Shop, Seymour, an employee who craves fame, buys a plant, names her Audrey, and gathers the duped hordes into the shop to watch Audrey perform tricks NO plant could ever do.  Seymour, at whose command she seems to perform, becomes famous and the shop thrives.  Not so the townfolk as, in truth, Audrey does Seymour's bidding ONLY IF FED HUMAN BLOOD.  We needn't go into the workings of the 'donor program', but you've most likely imagined it wasn't pretty.)
       Suffice it to say regarding 'demonstrators', there does exist a small (it is hoped) type of warped people who will stop at nothing to ensure that the main, largest follow-spot is always attached to their cause - anti- everybody, everything associated with the 'other' candidate.  Like so many demonstrators, they don't really have a cause - beyond demonstration.
     lieved in, bought Audrey.  Obviously, the downside to all of this is a willingness to follow the best enticer - with passion.  Capitalizing on this, "Evil" lures the 'Don't-know-what-it-is-but-I'm-for-it' crowd into chaos and destruction.  Seymour's 'cause' wrought havoc.  He believed in, bought Audrey.  Faust bought damnation from Mephistopheles when he sold his soul to him.
       Moral: Even if the rewards sound endless AND are on sale, they are NEVER  worth the true cost.  I was lucky.  I just got grounded.  But I was 17 and had a brother 5 years older than I, so my folks had been through the drill.
       I was a senior in High School, had been accepted to Georgetown, my grades were sterling so I risked the tarnish and joined a merry little band of afternoon class-cutters who spent afternoons in the Village - often at the Cafe Wha? where we saw and heard Carly Simon, Woody Allen and even Joan Baez (You can Google her).  And one Sunday, Joan was staging a protest under the Village Arch.  WOW!  My best friend and I, having told our parents we were going up to the Cloisters to listen to Gregorian Chant music, hot- footed it to the Village where a crowd had gathered on this beaytiful, sunny day.
       AND THERE SHE WAS.  JOAN BAEZ PLUS GUITAR and several hundred young people, arms locked, Chiclet smiles glinting.  We lucked out and edged  into the throng - arms entwined with JOAN'S as we gleefully chanted:
(Think "Glory, glory, Halleluiah!)  "If the cops get in our way, we're gonna roll right over them, roll right over. . . .")  And it was.  Over, that is when the Six o'Clock News came on and I sat next to my parents as they watched this bawdy DEMONSTRATION and there's never a blackout when you need one.
And no, I still don't know what I was demonstrating - save ignorance.
Later, Lorane. . . . .

Friday, July 29, 2016

Did You Say Something?

       It seems so easy to fall 'out of the loop' these days.  Either you can't find it or you're not endowed with the appropriate 'social media' to play.  In fact, the very words 'social media' have taken on a life heretofore not de rigueur. (At least, not in MY generation's lexicon.)
       My husband and I spent this past weekend in our 45 year-old cottage on the Outer Banks of NC.  Our son and his three children - aged 14, 8, and 12 plus the eldest's best friend were thrilled to be along, surf fishing, surfing and shell-collecting.  One evening, our son and I took two of the sated, heated crew with us in the same car a walkable distance to fetch ice cream creations for the whole crew.
       I listened as the 8 and 12 year olds updated my son 3 times regarding changes and sizes of the crew's selections requested by the stay-behinds. In that I'd only heard two of the fetchers' voices, I turned to look at them to determine the source of  these telepathic communiques.
       Tbey sat quietly, heads bowed - as though having suddenly come upon royalty - staring at their cell phones while their fingers did the talking.  (Being from an distant, older era where progress was telephonically applauded when we arrived at a point that announced we now could "let your fingers do the walking", their smooth and accommodating transmissions indeed gave me pause.
      This because 1) I was so impressed with their ease and accuracy - to say nothing of speed.  Didn't have time.
 And 2) I was stunned into a panicked silence  - most out of character - because of my personal, quiet, demoralizing panic over the knowledge that that the question, "Grams, you're sticking with pistachio, right?" was imminent.  Truth be told, I was developing a shrewd strategy, soon to be VOICED of simply 'nodding' and mumbling -"Uh, Huh".
       Therein lies the rub.  It was but a few short decades ago, in my case anyway, that a seemingly 7 foot tall, black-garbed nun stared down her hooked nose, pointing with a long wood 'dart' at my visage, as she spat, "Did you say something?"  She would invariably receive "No, Sissst!" through clenched teeth, pigtails wildly snapping back and forth to punctuate my saintly negative.  
       I suppose one could surmise that, decade-hopping notwithstanding, SILENCE STILL RULES.  (But if your powers of observation remain intact, you'll note the stealth with which the inability to express oneself in simple, yet complete and parseable sentences, is creeping past us, unnoticed.)
Later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Turning Leaf

          It's a Wednesday - standing couch time appointment.  I'm planning on making it - on time - and won't he be surprised.  Yup.  Another 'new leaf' abornin'.  Truth be told, I've sworn off those 'new leaves'.  One never honors them;  they even tend to create an unpleasant, subtle kind of pressure.  (What if I regress?  Go back to being an 'old leaf'?  What then?  Would it be a symptom of the dreaded "empty promise syndrome"?  Will I be justly shunned - even by me?)
       Perish the thought.  Rather, as I plagiarize with impunity - and a stemless glass - from a wine bottle label, I (drum roll, or egg roll - your call) introduce you to my new 'MO', "Turning Leaf".  I'm excited and a bit relieved.  I mean, all those abandoned 'new leaves' - as a recent TV commercial notes - aren't going to rake themselves.  Consequently, I'll have far more energy and be infinitely more tidy emotionally if I simply use one 'turning leaf' whenever I'm moved to change or improve this business of living.
       By way of example, today, my leaf turns on punctuality.  It feels like it was only yesterday that I was chronically late.  Indeed it was yesterday that tardiness was embedded in my moniker - "The Late Lorane Leavy" the naysayers would spout.  Well, they'll have to find a new tree on which to lift their leg.  Mine, sprouting turning leaves at all stages of gestation, will no longer provide a 'hit-able' target.
       Having split a personality or two at the appointed time - and basking in my mind-mender's approval, "Here, here" - I shall proceed with efficiency to execute my list of chores/errands smugly aware of the lack of any interruption of planned activity that can thwart the effervescence I'll be enjoying after my first successful leaf-turning.
       Why, you may be asking, does she persistently impose this tripe on us?  I would submit, "I love writing."  And apparently you must love reading.  In that writing of necessity is largely autobiographical, I share, give what I know, what I've learned, what I've felt and why.
       (I must digress.  And it's relevant.  My husband and I saw the film "Genius" this past weekend.  It beautifully and accurately presents a long chapter in the life of noted Scribner's editor, Max Perkins.   The selected part of his brilliant career deals with his discovery and nurturing of Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and - largely - Thomas Wolfe, contemporaries all.
       Having read and studied the literature and authors of the late twenties and early thirties throughout my life, I was no stranger to the characterization of Mr. Perkins' effect on these artists and their work.  I was moved, therefore, to purchase the book from which the screenplay emerged after my appointment.  It didn't emerge after my appointment.  Rather, I went to Barnes and Noble after my appointment where the establishment's manager and I spent a delightful part of the afternoon discussing - and locating a copy of - the book.
       My only criticism of the film - which I highly recommend - was the absence of stress on the physical size of Thomas Wolfe.  I had read in several sources that it was his habit to use the refrigerator as a 'desk', scribbling a word or eighty on a page which he'd then send floating to the floor.  It was given to dear, dogged Max to climb four or five flights of dark, musty, steel-tipped stairwells to reach Wolfe's apartment, collect the uncollated mountain of strewn, cluttered paper, cart it back to Scribner's and spend an uncanny amount of time - motivated by a deep admiration for the writer's talent - so that, ultimately, we could have "Look Homeward, Angel".
       I lived in a five story walk-up in Brooklyn from birth to ten and have vivid - actually happy - memories of riding, knees crouched up to chin, in the "dumbwaiter" which was just outside our door and had cable-sized ropes with which you  could lower yourself - although it was intended for lowering trash - to the basement.  Quite fun, actually.  Unfortunately, Mr. Wolfe's digs lacked this "extra" and dear Max had to use the shoe leather express to reach his treasure.
       In the movie Genius, there are two scenes showing Wolfe hard at work, writing atop the fridge.  Unfortunately, both the appliance and the actor are of average height, leaving the viewer to surmise the choice of 'desk' was just another quirk in the artist's personality.  I'll read the book and let you know whether the lack of emphasis on Wolfe's height was a casting accommodation.)
       We were talking about writing and reading, I believe.  So, from soul through quill to heart and mind, your being is free to take and keep what it needs.  When you do, and it is a positive experience, we are connected.  My cathartic outpouring has joined us, rendered us members of this enormous and complicated but loving and supporting family.
       Perhaps, you, too, were thinking of turning a leaf but thought the notion odd.  Well, you needn't because you just found out that at some point everyone in the family does.
       Or maybe you were feeling the need for a good listener, someone who really hears your worries, shares your triumphs, understands and wants to allay your fears.  Seeking help is a good thing.  'Therapy' doesn't label you negatively.  Taken as directed, it makes you do your 'happy dance'.  Alternatively (and finally), you may have just wanted a glass of wine.  No harm.  No foul.  Good for the circulation, actually.  May I touch your bottom?
       But then I must be on my way.  Wouldn't want to be tardy.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What I Know. . . .

       I know.  I know. Said, publicly on Facebook, that I was going to write more and haven't.  Well, I've been reprimanded - by phone even - and the truth of the matter comes down to material. People who followed this blog did so because they got a laugh here and there.  Or perhaps a stinging bit of insight jumped off the page that was just what they were looking for.  (Sorry about that preposition at the end of that sentence but "grammatically correct" as well as Emily Post are dead.  Today at least.  Although you can probably take Emily's demise to the bank.)
       Believe I was going on about 'insight'.  Surely it couldn't have been about 'jumping' as it's noon and I'm still in bed. Long day, late night thing.  But insight.
       Last week, at the end of my weekly couch-time session, after filling this incredibly caring clinician with sagas of failure, negativity and depression for 50 minutes, he asked whether I'd found any good 'Summer reads'.
       By way of response, I reminded him of the sorely-missed, supremely gifted singer/song-writer Jim Croce and his brilliant (To this warped mind) "Car Wash Blues".  To wit:
     Well I had just got out
     of the county prison
     Doin' 90 day for non-support.
     Tryin' ta fin me an 'xe cutive position
     But no madda how smoove I talked
     They wouldn' listen
     to da fac that I was geenius
     Da man say "We got all that we can use"
     So I got dem steadily depressin'
     low-down, mind-messin'
     Woikin' at da car wash blues.

       My point in regaling him with Croce's masterpiece verbatim was to convey my utter frustration when trying to read today's New York Times "Best Seller List" recommendations.  There aren't two paragraphs to be found (by me) that can serve as a lowly apprenticepiece to Croce's work.
       He then urged me to write (and I knew this was coming as he seems to think I could hold my own with F. Scott and his bride, Hemmingway and Dorothy Parker - (dysfunctionals all) so again I give him Croce's
     So don' spec to see me
     Wid no double martini
     In a 'high price society' news
     Cuz I got dem
     steadily depressin', lo-down, mind-messin'
     woikin' at da car wash blues.

       Surely the subtext of this exchange is the unspoken but secretly held belief that like Jim, I, too, am "Geenius"  ( I promise not to call you Shirley).  And since we know this subtext to be false, we understand the need for these weekly sessions.
       On the other hand, this 71 year-old lady was walking her in-extremus-but-under-treatment beagle the other day in her newly moved-into neighborhood in "surprising Suffolk", VA when, noticing some menacing cloud development, she took a new turn - intending to make a hasty return home, only to become flummoxed and quite directionally challenged.
       Seeing a moving van being guided into a driveway peopled by a young couple and their dog and hoping the driver would be familiar with the streets, she asked the guider to point her in the direction of her address.  He felt fortunate in finding his delivery address  and couldn't help.  She then asked the mover-IN and he predictably admitted no area knowledge.  But.
       He takes out what turns out (I believe ALL tenses should be used lest they get lonely) to be his VERY smart phone and in a nanosecond he is enlarging a map depicting the very corner on which we stand with his index finger (we weren't standing with his index finger, he was tracing with it) and, by then reducing the image size, finding my address and instructing me as to the route I should take.
       As if on cue, what turned out to be HIS bride, walked briskly toward us inquiring as to my beagle - Bridie's - temperament toward new dog friends as it was time to walk theirs and she would be happy to walk with me.  In that Bridie is hardly in what could be perceived as "aggressive mode", walking and talking commenced and upon arrival at our driveway we were Lisa and Lorane, the latter explaining "DO Tell", our now GARDEN-Guard-Pet. 
       Do Tell - an iron frog wielding a red metal coffee mug, is now parked, cross-legged, on a marble stone - our official greeter/mascot.  For a long time, I explained to Lisa, he was my writing confidante.  A great listener, Do Tell, especially when I suffered from writers block (when the people in my head aren't talking to each other).  We exchanged phone numbers and Lisa told me I 'should write' because I told such good stories  (Do Tell is hardly a story.)
       (When I observe my own grown children - married and raising families - reaching out to their elders or ANYONE they know is in need, to lend a hand, I'm proud and heartened and know it was worth the effort over the years to instill this value system.  The kindness that was effortlessly extended to me by Mike and Lisa , having just uprooted from their Colorado home and his Air Force career, on the day they were moving into their new home - not a day one usually does a 'happy dance' - tells me 'THEIR MAMMA RAISED THEM RIGHT'.
       I know we'll become friends - even though he IS a die-hard New York Yankees fan.  You see, as a child, I spent countless days at Ebett's Field, wolfing down hot dogs laden with sauerkraut and mustard and pulling hard for the entire then Brooklyn Dodgers organization.  Indeed when we played the Yankees, I really thought their team HAD to wear white uniforms with black stripes because they were felons out on a pass.  I was very young.)
       I guess, if physicians, followers and new friends say I should write (Do Tell was ALWAYS A BELIEVER), I should.  I'll write about the things I know.  (Heaven knows, I've lived long enough, it should sound like 'breaking news' to most.)  My next foray backward (it's comfy back there) will probably be the old hood, the ubiquitous 'railroad apartments', life in the 'hallways', dumb waiters (A gent I dated at Georgetown thought I was referring to the uneducated "help" many years later), Jewel Street, Diamond Street, hanging Casey Stengel in effigy, the "Incubators", $ to be fished with a string and gum from over the metal vents leading to the subway entrances, our resident, beautiful, retarded block buddy, Ray-Ray. . . .
       Yeah.  The 'things I know'.  And, boy, so many days I wish, "Everything Old Is New Again".
Later, Lorane. . . .