Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions, Revelations. Rallies

      Been hearing all manner of change - that will debut tomorrow.  Hardly a joiner, I most definitely am a mull er.  My musings took me from "Remembering" yesterday to 'and now?' today.  We have scanned, eye to mind, mind touching mind, with all the reverent anticipation of "Looking for Mr. Goodbar", through the frenzied yet purposeful jungle that we call mankind.  If one subscribes to the concept - and I daresay I do - of the 'Whole' of Mankind, then one accepts the thesis (count me in) that mankind is indivisible and the 'mysteries' not yet solved speak not to Nature's disorder but to man's intellectual immaturity.
      Please forgive me the bromides indispensable to pragmatically applying this thesis to my advocacy of the rights to which, I believe, mankind is entitled.  First, you gotta believe that injury to any part of mankind, injures - in part - all of mankind.
      (John Donne drove this home with: "No man is an island.  Each man's death diminishes me for I am involved in mankind.  So, ask not for whom the bell tolls.  It tolls for thee." The boy indeed had a knack.)
      Next, survival in today's world is made tolerable by the enjoyment of living.  This enjoyment is markedly decreased by emotional and psychic disabilities.  Dear Dorothy Parker had a bead on this one in "Coda".
      (There's little in taking or giving,
There's little in water or wine;
This living, this living, this living
Was never a project of mine.
Oh hard is the struggle, and sparse is
The gain of the one at the top.
For art is a form of catharsis,
And love is a permanent flop.
And work is the province of cattle,
And rest's for a clam in a shell,
So I'm thinking of throwing the battle-
Would you kindly direct me to hell?")
      Now these imbalances - and their Siamese twin, physical limitation - rob mankind's life of its pleasures.  The Bard provides but one example.
("Ah, sleep, that knits up the raveled sleeve of care.")
      And at the very heart of mankind's dilemma, bypassing the pulmonary artery - and, therefore, lungs - and hopping right over to the left ventricle (you don't tug on left ventricle's cape, if you get my drift) which launches gallons of weakness through mankind's system per diem, is the loss of what I call the 'sharing experience'.  This because the ability to create and SHARE the creation in communal productivity is a source of great pride.  Losing it leaves a large blank page in our book, "The Pleasure of Living".  You're on your own.  Living isn't pleasing.  It's a crap shoot. 
      (As Groucho Marx opined when his "You Bet Your Life" TV program was challenged on a different network with the very engaging/amusing Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, "Well folks, I guess now you can bet your life or better your life." Re:Marx, nobody could top him when it came to speedy, snappy repartee.)
      It is therefore up to us, dear readers, to ensure mankind's entitlements, overcome this inchoate mentality, facilitate and preserve mankind's pleasure in living.  I know you've all been a-tasking to the nth 'multi' of late, so I have set about fixing the problem.  Mankind's life, I am resolved, shall NOT be robbed of its pleasure!  Debuting on the morrow, I will do the man proud.
      (I refer, of course, to Clint Eastwood/Ronald Reagan's "Go ahead. Make my day.")
      Tutorially speaking, I refer you first to the parentheticals above.  Cherished pearls of wisdom - cast NOT before swine but enshrined, etched, inscribed (any guesses where I'm going with this?) ON PAPYRUS, PARCHMENT, PAPER, then having been marked with 'P', tossed in the oven for you and me.  Obviously, in this scenario, 'oven' is used metaphorically for book/library/collections and the like.  Yes, I READ them.  They were gifts from my friends.  Gifts I could take to bed, a grassy knoll, a sofa by the window, watching the snow fall -quietly, so as not to disturb my READING.
      I'd seen them neatly arranged in book cases with doors made of crafted leaded glass; on shelves over mantels, Moroccan-leather-bound, gilded-edged pages announcing "The Royals are 'IN'"; on the desks of my children in their rooms; the bedside tables of octogenarian nuns; in stores, on subways at launches, the proud author beaming as the lines formed, waiting a turn to have the newly-purchased treasure touched by, actually written in, by its creator.  That, dear reader is the penultimate 'sharing experience', the ultimate delayed so as to be a very private affair to remember - perhaps a soupcon of crackling wood in the fireplace, a fragrant magnolia floating in a Waterford bowl on a nearby Deco ottoman, hints of Beethoven surround-sounding softly, almost a whisper of puppy's breathing, curling up from your feet. 
      And, like the cradle, the curtain will fall.  Bidden or not bidden, the parting will be sweet sorrow.  Sweet because 1) you now become tachycardic, perhaps do some anticipatory panting even, at the very thought of   a brand new 'sharing experience', IE, telling all comers about 'this book I just read," and 2) you know that I'll be sooo happy for you and the chosen-to-be-sharees, that I'll not use ONE MORE HACKNEYED cliche in this post!
      (To be sure, I really did see/admire one such book case when I first visited my husband's home.  Their living room was forty feet long (the baby grand looked like a preemie) and at one end the wall WAS the book case.  He morphed it into an apprentice-piece by lounging over the top shelf - home to every sports trophy he'd ever earned - until the hapless visitor HAD to say, "Gee, Phil, what're all those shiny statues in the book case?"
      And around our home, each dedicated community of books had different bookends.  some were bona fide antiquities; some were from my family or bought by me.  But they have SUCH personality.  Huge solid brass elephants (trunks UP, good luck, you know) support my cookbook collection (remember cooking, Lorane?); carved wood Civil War cannons embrace Phil's sister's collection.  Her ashes were scattered and you'll be as well if you mess with her books; bulbous, contradictory, IRON wing-back chairs support the law books in my study (Contradictory in that you will never find a comfortable chair in a courtroom - save the 'bench' on which his honor perches); Stone, squares, sporting embedded brass ducks support my husband's medical tomes; our son's desk sported leather, 3-D slices of the globe (which always said 'basketballs' to me); one of our daughters used flat, brass squares imprinted with Rodin's "The Thinker" (I suspect, is was the male anatomical precision, not the artistic value that attracted her) and our other little lady had clowns - silent commentary on how she viewed the entire educational 'drill'.
      Whatever shall I do with them?  What will they embrace, adorn?  Whence functionality when 'The Trend' finally becomes 'The Only' means of accruing knowledge, favorite quotes, maps, recipes, fables, bed-time stories? When dawns the day during which what was once known as 'reading material' is generated by robotic, computerized chips or multi-channel analytic towers, information to be characterized, disseminated and osmotically absorbed by the 'end user', AKA humans. 
      The very embodiment (rather, mechanization) of efficiency, its applications have no limits; its productivity matchless as well as eviscerated.  As will be the humans forced to rely upon them.  Is THAT the world we want?  You-show-me-your-new-template-I'll-show-you-mine relationships?  Nay, say I.  Fie on curling up with metallic, meditationally-transmitted data. Dam Data. Any day.  I love dairy products but never wished my parents had been Guernseys.  I thrive on the written word, thought, emotion but would not have traded my folks for a pair of matching, fluorescent transducers.)
      Soooo.  Here's the plan.  Remember those queues, populated with humans, happily, willingly awaiting their turn for hours JUST to 'meet the press', as it were.  Touch the hem.  Perfume the washed feet of the creator.  No holds barred when it comes to that 'shared experience'.  That fulcrum upon which mankind balances its pleasure of living with its wholeness
      Well, we're going to bring those lines back.  Introduce the reader to his writer.  Save the jobs of ALL of the workers who perform ALL of the tasks involved in producing ALL of the books produced by ALL of those publishers.  Once again, the writer will stop by, say "Hi" and leave a smidgen of who-what-where-when-why, then SIGN the book, using the same nimble fingers that caressed the keyboard whilst forming the words that, when strung together, formed sentences that built paragraphs which marched step-lock-style across the paper pages, telling a story, drawing a picture, birthing another "shared experience'. 
      I've 'named the baby'.  Stop by the nursery.  The nurse will wheel it over.  Just ask for "Calling Card".  Cute as it can be. And starting tomorrow, I shall embark on a journey of "Deliverance".  I'll still be based on this page, of course.  But here's hopin' NEXT year, if you buy a book for you or as a gift (same thing, really), when you open the cover you'll see an affixed note to you, from the writer.  And if you do, tell your friends about it.  And please tell me.  Like I said, I'll be here; and like Mae West said,
      ("Come up and see me sometime.")
                                   Later, Lorane. . . .

Thursday, December 29, 2011


      So this kid walks down the stairs.  It's around 3 in the morning.  She was thirsty. Around step number 8, her orange, fuzzy amoebic-shaped slippers freeze.  Rubbing imaginary 'sleep' out of the corners of her eyes, (In later years, well after reality had established residency in her head, she would refer to the location of this discharge as the inner canthus but this is now, it's my story and reality hasn't even knocked.  Hunger, thirst, fantasy - knocked AND moved in.  Reality who?) she allows them to morph into protruding globes as she stares.
      Whaddya know.  It's Mommy. And SANTA. She's no expert, but that sure looks like a very long kiss all wrapped up in a red velvet hug.  She snickers - a hushed snicker.  A self-satisfied snicker.  Santa's "beard and stache", gleamy white, combed and ELASTIC-BANDED to his brown-haired head, is doing a stashe stand, straight and stiff, on his now flattened red velvet hat, actually up-staging the famous white, fuzzy pom-pom. This is good stuff.  Enormous potential. "So, uh, Mom. The kids are goin' skatin' at Wollman's in Central Park Friday ni. ." "Absolutely NOT!" ""Was this year the FIRST uh, ya know, for you and 'Santa?" "You have a mean streak, child. Your father's side. . . You'll have to promise to stay with the group and come RIGHT home after a hamburger and shake at Prexy's." (Prexy's - The Hamburger with a College Education." The logo's a picture of a burger on feet wearing a mortar board with its tassel dangling into the oozing red ketchup on the side. Mom's fave for after ice skate appetites)
      (Wrapping presents this year, I was bathing in the oldies.  The songs we knew when I was coming up. (Up where? Why do people say that? We were singing these songs in a six story walk-UP - although we only had to climb to four.) "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" always made me laugh. Back then, I mean. Because Mom favored Mussolini  when it came to management style.  And Dad had this little thing for "Four Roses" - or ANY rye, for that matter. Bottles hidden everywhere. Mom rarely drank.
      So I knew it would be a 'Bachus Debauch' for Dad if I ever caught Mom in THAT kind of hanky-panky. I'd picture her yanking a half-drained "Four Roses" soldier out of the umbrella stand by the front door. There I'd be, miming "The Kiss" -back to her, the way we used to do. Lots of hand work. Outcome? "At ease, Soldier."  Then business as usual. Mom cooking, cleaning, going to work during the day. Me, going to school (on the shoe leather express) homework and, after we got a TV, watching "Ozzie and Harriet", wondering what it was like to have stairs leading to bedrooms on a second level IN YOUR OWN HOUSE, and, - always - playing out a lively imaginary life in my head.)
      Somehow -  and we'll skirt the details (wouldn't want to run into the Devil. They say that's where he is. In the details.) - she made it from under the stable roof to Camelot.  Deedee-doo, at the tender age of eighteen, she was being driven - reluctantly, tearfully, with trunks filled with trepidation - to Washington, D.C. and 'Destination Georgetown University'. It was 1962, the campus was teeming with co-eds draped in Pendleton, penny loafers, Ladybug blouses, cashmere cardigan belting or 'shawling', soon-to-be-stored madras and espadrilles from Charlettesville (the ONLY thing a Hoya would deem worthy from THAT city) and the ubiquitous sparkling white 'Chiclet'-teeth smile, strolling the Mile Path (best walkway on which to be seen) to the bookstore, Coach-leather breezes softly swaying their silky, blunt-cut bobs. 
      During that four years, she forced herself out of her own head and heart so as to meld with her beautiful Colleagues-in-Camelot-Community. By her senior year, she'd streaked her hair - where Jackie used to have hers done on Wisconsin Avenue, lost thirty-five pounds by keeping up academically, socially, theatrically (devoted member of the university drama club, The Masque and Bauble), clinically - the school of nursing demanded more clinical hours than any collegiate program in the U.S. - as well as babysitting for VERY well-paying clients who entertained the notion, to appease their guilt over having NO intention of raising their own children, that GU nursing students were the creme-De-la-creme re: safety, prestige and capability. Kids seemed to like them, too.
      She had spent breaks at a variety of manses  - Chevy Chase , CT, Potomac Park,  Manhattan, McLean - where she learned basic equestrian maneuvers, 'proper' serving/entertaining rudiments, THE ONLY labels one wore, sports one watched vs played, men one dated and where one requested they go. Summers were all Manhattan. A group of eight secured jobs at New York Hospital where dorm-living was provided, salaries outrageously high, off-time spent owning the city. She'd 'done' The Russian Tea Room, Bogie's, parties on Sutton Place, Bergdorf's, Bendel, and the Plaza for lunch and drinks many times over.  The Village, already a second home, was very 'coming' in the sixties, as was fountain bathing Au naturale.  It was all passion, urgency, causes and all carried off with bona fide ELEGANCE.
      (Perhaps the wrapping paper had sparked that parade of royal glitterati - and the Magi didn't even wrap. they just followed their star. As did I. And I noticed the music had changed. I was listening to The Commitments, "Destination Anywhere" in particular, Niamh Kavanagh, lead vocalist. (Recently, I befriended a lovely, talented Irish author named Niamh.  I'd never heard the name before - or so
      Never saw the 'charm'/'quaintness' in the mafia, the gangs, tattoos, black leather-ware, the pointed shoes ("Puerto Rican Fence Climbers"), garish make-up, teased hair, motorcycles, playful rituals (It seemed we hung and burned Casey Stengel in effigy every year to every one's delight) - the 'Brooklyn Schtick'.  And I married a Hoya whose dream - if he didn't make the cut as the shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was to be a part of the Mafia. (Unfortunately, that was behind door 3 in my family) He still delights in my telling the story of getting a ride home from school with my Mom's older brother, Paul, who adored me.  He drove a black Cadillac and I was fascinated with the shiny, wood and chrome dash.  OOPS! The glove compartment opened, a small, heavy, black revolver rocketed right into my lap. I froze. (Never saw a real gun before or since) Uncle Paul waited for a red light., gently leaned over and replaced the gun in its cache and said, "Why don't ya do some readin' or somethin'." I did.
      Back to my wrapping, I noticed I'd bought wonderful book gifts this year. Coming out of my bleak reverie, I realized I was wrapping a baby's-first-alphabet book in which the letters are characters.  Opening it in a desultory fashion, I read (sans context), "Y says, 'Why isn't E even crying?' And O answers, 'Sometimes, she's a silent E.'" I thought, "How sweet." Then I thought - that ole 'looseness of association' - of how when my Dad was helping me with my reading and we came across an 'e' that was not to be expressed, he'd say, after I'd muffed it, "No, Elgee, the 'e' is silent, like the pee in toilet" and have a good laugh at his pun. Where's Uncle Paul's gun when I need it? Huh? I ask you. You pick - pun or gun? See what I mean? Quaint is as quaint does. Pee-in-toilet ain't.)
      Memory Lane strolls CAN be therapeutic.  You evaluate how you've approached this 'human experience'. Have I just let it happen or did I run to embrace it.  Did I ride it in subway-stance - eyes straight ahead or reading; if standing, hold strap, feign reading placard ads; no co-passenger exchanges beyond, "scuse", "yeah" or, if your trench coat is suddenly wet at groin level, hatpin-thrust forward at same level - even if priest or nun-in-drag. Or did I reach out, listen, hold in silence, befriend on the journey like some opulent millionaire, squandering precious coins of personality. I can only hope I made a good run at being laughter's gentle soul, not sulks' hit man. 
      I'll keep following my star - relentless, unafraid, taking the "road less traveled", not because I'm dauntless.  Rather because I know I'm NOT working without a net. This because, as the carving over C.G. Jung's entrance says (in Latin - showoff), "Bidden or not bidden, God is present."  We'll do this again next year. We'll keep track together: Rx: 'remembering' per anum.  Later, Lorane. . . .

Sunday, December 11, 2011


      Well, I guess the ole fuse has been on overload of late.  And speaking of 'late', that's exactly how I've been running.  "Today, Self, YOU WILL WRITE". Right. Today.  BRAIN: Just checked calender and - oops!, it's tomorrow! Self didn't write. Again. Wrong.
      Of course whatever can go wrong, does. Especially when you are rushed, addled, cannot tolerate dog hair, crumbs, etc on white tile kitchen floor thereby wasting chunks of productive time eliminating same. Then there's appointments kept for simple tests only to find out data missing/not sent to doc who needed them; Selecting presents to help Santa & finding out chubs doesn't reimburse for this favor; staying in touch with really important people. And since that is never a 'wrong', no apologies.
Color me Coping
      But I sorely MISS writing.  Miss you, dear readers.  Think of the pluses.  When I write, I heal, I deal (as in cope), I extract myself from the ho-hum rut of overstimulating reality.  And when you read, YOU can take a break from the daily (nano-second-ly) grind - which has nothing to do with a good cup of Jo OR pole dancing - which has nothing to do with elves. You can enter MY world for a bit - and unless you've got the IQ of a box of frozen snow peas, you can exit STAT. There are always choices. To get up; to put paper weight on snooze button; to read; to swear off of this blog.
      If, however, you are a Karma 'type', I think things are re-sol-ving. I really do.  SOME thing happened this week - obviously I was too busy/frazzled to notice - that has things rolling along with far more 'grace under pressure' (and please don't call me Grace); in  more of an "old sport", "light-on-Daisy's-dock" ambiance which means - DRUM ROLL - I AM going to write again. Soon.  Mayhaps tomorrow - after Molly's dance recital. (Grand peep Molly of "Good-Golly-Miss-Molly"-fame.  I'm just sayin', "Let's talk, SOON.

Sooner. L. . . .