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Posts Tagged ‘joyce carol oates’

“What should I write this morning?” I asked Bob. He mumbled something over coffee that sounded like, “I dunno thatsatourriff.” This is what happens when you talk with your mouth full, cause I’m pretty sure he actually said, “I don’t know that’s your gift.” Or gig, or whatever. So I said,

“I know, facelifts!”

Well, actually I don’t know much about facelifts except, that every celebrity of a certain age is starting to look the same. And when you go too far under the knife, or too often, you could start to look like a lion. Beware, that image you see in the mirror may no longer be you!

But I DO recognize that schoolyard bully who might tell a young girl her lips are too big, or her hair is dirty, or (pick a body part and insert a slur). Mr T has got a huuuge problem with smart women, like Mika Brzezinski, and fast, tiny fingers that tap out his stream of putrid consciousness almost every morning. This is horrifying to the civilized world but somehow continues to delight his followers. Leaders don’t do this, they don’t intimidate, harass and belittle others into compliance. They certainly don’t talk about women bleeding…

When I opened Twitter this morning, one of my favorite authors, Joyce Carol Oates, popped up with this:

“Face-lift? Who needs a face-lift? All of US badly in need of soul-lift.” 

Here are a few things we can do for our souls, instead of trying to dissect the Presidential Twitter feed – which is simply vindictive nonsense.

  1.  Do something good for our planet. Plant a tree, pick up garbage on your street, bring tote bags to the grocery store if you’re not already. Donate to an environmental agency like The Sierra Club, or pick a non-profit: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2006/03/guide-environmental-non-profits/  We only have THREE years to get right with the world, so what are you waiting for? http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/06/29/we-have-3-years-to-act-on-climate-change-before-its-too-late-s_a_23007680/
  2. Become someone your grandchildren will admire. Pick a cause (and not cyber-bullying, FLOTUS has that covered y’all) and throw your body and soul into it. Is gun violence driving you mad? Guns kill nearly 1,300 children each year in our country. Join “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” and help them #disarmhate https://momsdemandaction.org. If you think women’s rights are human rights, see what your local Planned Parenthood is up to, that is if they are still open?
  3. Go Deep. Turn off all those devices and listen to the world. First of all, your inner peace is depending on you. Meditate, even if it’s just for ten minutes while you’re watering the garden. Did you know walking the dog could be a meditation? You don’t have to sit in a lotus position and chant things. Great Grandma Ada said she would have to get up and dust if she ever tried meditating. But once we make peace with ourselves, we have a ripple effect on the rest of our lives. Acceptance is a form of grace, and it doesn’t just happen on Sunday morning.

Wasn’t it Lady Gaga or the Dalai Lama who wrote about self-acceptance? Everybody has a body part they don’t like, and we women are notorious for being critical. Her nose is too long, her hands betray her age, if only I could just lose that last ten pounds…The Flapper didn’t like her freckled, ski jump nose. She told me she would rub lemon juice on her nose to try and bleach out the freckles. For me, I was a tomboy just as flat-chested as the Flapper, and there were some boys who liked to remind me of this fact.

Lucky for me, I never succumbed to the ridicule by placing sacks of saline in my chest.

Stay Woke people. Get out there and enjoy this glorious weather and remember you don’t need to eat and breathe politics. When I was young, we had one half hour at night to watch Walter Cronkite and complain about the news…as a family, around one TV set. Daddy Jim read the newspaper, you remember those, in peace and quiet. It wasn’t all consuming all the time. Mr T’s Tweets are bad for our collective health. Here’s the latest Dalai Lama’s Tweet:

“We experience happiness on a sensory level that is relatively short-lived. But lasting happiness is related to our state of mind.” 

Enjoying a frozen hot chocolate with cupcake bear can also be soul-lifting.

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It’s another beautiful morning, a second day of sun and no rain. I’ve finished my conference call with my brother Jim and my sister Kay, and I’m about to head down and water the fig trees we planted. We’re looking forward to 3 weddings in the coming months and I’m determined to start doing water aerobics. Yes, you heard me right, there’s nothing I’d like better than dancing in a pool!

I started this day by listening to a podcast in the early morning light on our screened-in sleeping porch. NPR’s Snap Judgement is new to me, it’s kind of like Ira Glass’ This American Life, only it tells more stories, with extra “hip” music and is trying to reach a younger, more diverse audience than the usual white guys over 50. So it helps that the curator of Snap Judgement, Glynn Washington, is black. And now, I’m under his spell. http://snapjudgment.org

The theme was Isolation, and not to give anything away, we are taken down into a cave for months with a French geologist, and into the basement with a guy who is quarantined because his treatment for thyroid cancer has left him radioactive. But the most poignant story is about a priest who visits prisoners that the world has forgotten. And one thing he said struck a chord;

When hearts have no place to break…they become harder.

Then of course I had to check Twitter before writing and Joyce Carol Oates posted about an essay by Oliver Sacks on the joys of old age (no kidding), without a link, so I just had to Google it…http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/opinion/sunday/the-joy-of-old-age-no-kidding.html?_r=0

“At nearly 80, with a scattering of medical and surgical problems, none disabling, I feel glad to be alive — “I’m glad I’m not dead!” sometimes bursts out of me when the weather is perfect. (This is in contrast to a story I heard from a friend who, walking with Samuel Beckett in Paris on a perfect spring morning, said to him, “Doesn’t a day like this make you glad to be alive?” to which Beckett answered, “I wouldn’t go as far as that.”)”

Feeling this holiday weekend, as I watched newly minted citizens take the Oath of Allegiance, barbequed with friends on our deck, and listened to a podcast on my iPhone, very grateful for this life. And still looking forward, as Sacks’ so eloquently said about his 80th, to my 65th birthday in September…even though I’ll be eligible for Medicare.

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I’m on the road again. It’s a brutal ride in one day to Nashville, filled with trucks, billboards, country music, and this time I brought an audiobook along for fun. Inspired by our trip to see Gatsby at our newest cineplex, I’m listening to Z : a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler. Zelda Sayre was nearly 18 years old in Montgomery, AL when she first met the author, masquerading as a soldier in 1918.

The book takes Zelda’s point of view since really all we’ve ever heard about her was that she was crazy and institutionalized. Her father was a judge in their Southern town and marrying the Northern carpetbagger, against her parents advice, seemed like a good idea at the time. And that’s where I am now, in a wi-fi free zone somewhere in TN, when she gets off the train for the first time in NYC. She’s going to meet Scott at St Patrick’s Cathedral, with a priest.

Excitement is building, I can’t wait for them to meet  Pablo Picasso, the Hemingways and Gertrude Stein! And to find out if she was really mentally ill, or just another smart woman not willing to compromise or subsume her life to align it with her husband. The Flapper once told me about an aunt who stopped cleaning the house, and stopped cooking after one or two too many babies. She was sent away to an asylum, and never returned.

When I left this morning, I heard that Richmond Airport had been evacuated because of a “serious threat.” The Rocker was flying but not through this VA airport, so I just kept packing the car. Then I heard on an NPR station that Princeton University was evacuated:

“Please evacuate the campus and all university offices immediately and go home unless otherwise directed by your supervisor,” the school’s website message said. “Do not return to campus for any reason until advised otherwise.” http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/11/us/new-jersey-princeton-evacuation/index.html?iref=allsearch

Fitzgerald attended Princeton and Joyce Carol Oates, a Princeton Prof, tweeted: “At some schools, like Princeton, there is a formal honor code. But “honor” shouldn’t be just for undergraduates.”  I wonder if Fitzgerald, who just missed serving in WWI, could have imagined a world where bomb threats are called in to his alma mater. Where newspaper reporters, a nearly extinct breed who would rather risk jail than give up their sources, have no choice when their emails are hacked. Where buttons are pushed in New Mexico and people are killed in Pakistan? Unknown

 

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