Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Time slips by...

I have strayed once again, let time slip through my fingers, wash its way out to sea, land upon an unseen island, visible only to those birds who fly over, looking for a morsel to fill their empty stomachs.  Time lies on the sand there, building up sand dunes, collecting grasses that collect insects, perhaps.  What evolves on that island that time builds?  

If I visit that island one day, will I be able to gather back all the time I lost?  Collect the thoughts and ideas for stories, art, conversations, hugs and kisses?  Or will I be forced to search for all my things among all the other things that belong to souls who let time slip through their fingers, having strayed once again from their appointed mandates?

Dancing Paisleys
Linda Farmer Ames
All Rights Reserved, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lies and Lying: Lessons Learned

Lies, secrets, omissions of truth, deceit, betrayal.  What one of us has not faced this act in our lives?  Who has not lied?  Who has never been told a lie?  From the beginning of time, lies are a part of our nature?  Eve lied to God after eating the “forbidden fruit.” Cain lied to God after he murdered his brother.  Pretty much Day One, if one is a follower of the Bible.
Lies permeate our lives daily.  Family member to family member; friend to friend; employee to boss; boss to employee.  And the world is full of lies between and among nations.
Yesterday I wrote about lying to my father, being disciplined, and then discovering later when I began to see my parents as human, that they were guilty as well.  I wrote that story because it was a memory of a lesson taught to me, by my own irresponsible behavior.  I did not do as I should have.  I lied about it.  I was disciplined.  Deep inside that discipline, Dad planted the seeds for living a more honest or truthful life.  That we make choices, and that those choices are not always well served.
Did it keep me from lying any other time in my life?  No.  Not even close. 
But, each lie I told triggered a response in me, deep inside that I was not being honest with myself, much less the person to whom I told the lie.  Many lies I lived with, have forgotten over time.  And many I could not live with and confessed.
I lied to my parents when I was 19 about something really big.  It ate at me and ate at me until three years later, in a fit of anger, I confessed.  I don’t recall the reasons for my anger or what it had to do with our argument, but the truth was told and I felt a whole lot better.  Dad could say, “I knew it!”  And we could go on with our lives.
So, back to my first story.  It was not shared as a way to embarrass my parents who left this earth years ago.  It was just a part of my life, a lesson learned, brought forward into my adulthood.

I am not perfect, never have been, never will be.  Like the rest of us.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Lesson in Lying

This short, short story, I jotted down while waiting for my car to be checked.  I had a poem in mind, and plan to develop it into one.  A friend also suggested I expand it into a longer, short story of 4,000 words, give or take, perhaps adding a double ending.  Enjoy.

Sister was ten. I was six.  Our instructions that day before we headed to the local pool were about safety and obedience.  Baby pool for me.  Adult pool for her.  Yes, we chimed our understanding, climbed from the car, headed for the refreshing, blue pool water.
Perahps an hour later – me, hanging on to the ladder in the adult pool, and my sister dogpaddling nearby – we saw the family car, big brown Desoto – progressing down the steep hill.  Surely too far away for two sets of eyes to observe my location.
Hastily I ran the four feet back to the baby pool and jumped in, watched the car approach. 
Sister looked over at me, calmly motioned to me to get out, and we made tracks for the parking lot.  She smiled at dad as she got into the back seat.  I looked down, avoided dad's eyes. 
"So, did Linda get in the baby pool?" Dad asked.
“No,” we lied. 
“She didn’t,” sister confirmed again.
“I didn’t.” My voice quivered and I looked about as innocent as a squirrel with peanut butter stuck in its two front teeth.  
“Well, we saw you from the car, and we saw you in the big pool.  You’re lying, both of you,” Dad yelled.
Sister and I dared a quick glance.  Busted!
The drive home was much too short.  
"Go to your room, get undressed and wait for me to call you.  Carolyn's name rang out shortly and she shuffled into the bath room where dad sat on the edge of the tub.  I waited my turn, heard slaps of Dad’s hand across Sister’s bare fanny.  She howled, and soon charged into the bedroom, lay across her bed, and wept.
My turn.  “Come here, Linda,” Dad called.  
I enter, my feet dragging, eyes averted to the floor.  Then I dare to look at him.  His eyes are black circles, devoid of emotion; his jaw is set.  Stripped of all clothing, I lie across his lap as he directs.
“This hurts me more than it is going to hurt you,” he announces.
Yeah, how?
Raised hand slams down, again, again.  Between each strike, he iterates:  “You lied.  You betrayed us.  You cannot be trusted.”
My butt feels as though I've been branded.  Finally, he releases me, then forces me to hug, kiss him. 
“Tell me you love me.”  If I known the words then, I might have chanced “Fuck You,” instead. Through slobbery sobbing, I hiccup, “I love you, Daddy.”  I hate you.
Finally loose, I stumble toward the bedroom, run straight into the door jam, where my forehead bangs into it full force.
Mother, standing nearby, sees the welt.  She turns, runs to the kitchen and returns with a knife.  She reaches for me.
I run and scream, “No, don’t cut me!” 
Somehow she soothes me enough so that I let her apply the cool knife to my head.  She is hoping the cold will avert any damage, that the knot will retreat and a bruise won’t occur.
Back in my bedroom, my sister asleep in the bed across from me, I ponder.  No more lying for me.  I cannot get away with it.  Daddy is omniscient.  Like God.

Years pass, I become an adult, and I discover my parents are people after all.  And I realize that dad lies; he lies about a lot of things.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Writing Poetry, and Writing in General

I, like most all others, learned something about writing poetry in grade school.  At that time, poetry had to rhyme, and it made it more of a struggle to conceive a well written story.  Not only did we have to write about something, but our lines (1 & 3 and 2 &4, or 1 - 4, or 1 & 2 and 3 & 4, or something to that effect) had to rhyme, and it had to make sense.  The best ones were written as though you were telling a story and you hardly noticed that the ends of lines were rhyming.

Not so mine.  Stilted, to say the least.  I kept some of those poems; and, I like to return to them to recall my first efforts.  Even then my heart and mind were yearning to express something for others to connect with.

About age 12, my first recollection of a poem that knocked me to the ground was by Vachel Lindsay:  The Bronco That Would Not Be Broken Of Dancing. I read it and could not quit sobbing all night. To this day, I tear up and my heart aches, though I can keep it together.  That poem told a story, a beautiful story, a heart-breaking story - and it rhymed.  I saw the rhyming and I just kept reading the story.  So... I continued as a high schooler to try to write like Lindsay, and I never got very far.

After school, marriage, motherhood and a work-life took over, and with that, my urge to write fell off my radar.  Infrequently, my muse dropped in and I'd visit with her briefly, only to send her packing after a couple of poems.  I'd place somewhere in a file folder to let them gather dust.

Long story, short, I divorced, my child grew up and flew the nest, and I continued working until I retired.  I joined the Georgia Poetry Society, and my muse would again call or stop by.  I entertained her for a short time, and then got into genealogy and Find-a-Grave activities.  Circumstances led me to change pace, look for new directions - or old directions, and now I feel really driven (?) to write more.  Not only poetry, but short stories.  I am entertaining (once again) a novel.

In the next day or two, I'll share some of the OLD stuff - and it is stuff - but it is sort of fun to read it and get back into the mind of a silly teenager in love with love.  You can laugh with me.  Until next time...

Unfinished Business

         For my father who I found March 3 1996.  May he always rest peacefully.

He, fractious father; raging river
headed downstream, crashing upon rocks,
plummeting into churning pools,
darting off in self-determined direction.

She, errant daughter; frightened child
adrift on meagerly crafted raft,
without paddle or pole to steer,
desperate to navigate his currents.

For them, life was rarely lukewarm. 
They found themselves on opposing ends,
blazing lava to frozen tundra,
devastating detestation to passionate adoration.

She studied him for clues
to meet his expectations,
to receive his understanding,
to find his acceptance.

His words left her speechless. 
His anger left her sobbing. 
His intellect left her impotent.  Yet,
she hungered for his love.

Just as they discovered common ground
where they could draw close,
create warm spirit between,
place tender kiss upon a cheek,

He abandoned her, when she found him
in a pool of blood,
shotgun in hand, silent. 
Peace, at last, for him.

© 2005 Linda Farmer Ames
Published in Journal of Outsider Poetry: Psychological Poems,
Roadbump Publishing, San Francisco, CA, 2009, Page 8