Saturday, October 31, 2015

The whole story: Episodes 1-8, The sisters creep up on Halloween.

Here are all eight episodes, reprinted, in chronological order.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The sisters creep up on Halloween

Among their multiple imaginary personas.  Photo found here.
(For those of you who saw the earlier version of this post, I've changed illustrations.  I presumed to borrow another artist's work, which had inspired the story, and did so without her blessing.  She was enormously gracious about the whole thing.)




Referred to by their mother as Ambulancia and Sireena, these two unquiet children began the holy hell of costume planning weeks before Halloween.  Negotiations, if they could be called that, did not go smoothly.

They were a one-tiara family and Ambulancia, as the elder sister, claimed the crown as hers.  Sireena retaliated by grabbing all the pastel tulle from deconstructed prom dresses, lashing it about her waist, not unlike Odysseus and the mast, refusing to untie it or share unless some detente could be reached about the rhinestone head piece.  The wailings they generated caused drivers to pull over and stop as they motored north on Fair Oaks Avenue, scanning rear view mirrors for emergency vehicles which never materialized.

Matters at school were no less fraught, the wearing of tiaras and ballooning net overskirts being unwelcome on any day that wasn't actually Halloween.  The sisters, stubborn eyes agleam, were sent home for the duration.  They seemed oddly jubilant.  Even victorious.  The unplanned holidays gave them uncommitted hours to squabble and plot.  To be continued.  Honest.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Episode 2: The sisters creep up on Halloween

A frou-frou bonanza.
The tiara in question.
Previously on "The sisters creep up on Halloween," 

The vintage tulle was taking on a fatigued air, belted as it was with gift wrapping ribbon and worn for days - and nights.  The tiara fared somewhat better, being more sturdily made and not being sat or slept upon.  Ambulancia built for herself a head-cradling pillow mound, tucked against the far wall side of her bed, that allowed her to sleep with the tiara in place and kept her unreachable by any hands seeking to plunder.  Her mother thought in sleep she resembled a half-mad dowager of royal ancestry determined to keep the throne, the rest of the world be damned.

As household nerves and costume materials began to fray, their mother asked the girls who exactly they planned to be for Halloween.  There was some muttering that sounded like "princesses" but one couldn't be certain.  "If we had two tiaras," shrilled Sireena, "we could be, like, zombie bridesmaids or, you know, just sort of Grey Gardens bridesmaids."

"Wilted, withered bouquets," Ambulancia volunteered.  "Chipped manicures, torn hems, smeary lipstick."  One of the things the girls loved best about costumes was makeup.  Lots and lots of experimenting with makeup.

"What if I got you matching tiaras, like bridesmaids would have?" their mother asked.  "Would that work?"  Shrugging, turning their faces away and mumbling, the girls said, "It might."  Their mother, whose temples already throbbed at the notion of these children referring to Grey Gardens as inspiration for costumes, nodded gently and said, "Good."  She helped Sireena release herself from the bunchy cloud of old gowns and saw that Ambulancia removed the antique tiara and put it away.

When their mother was out of the room, the sisters scowled at each other, battling with mean-eyed, squinty stares and stuck-out tongues.  Then each began to chuckle softly, little "heh heh heh" sounds.  Oh help us, with Halloween still so many days away.  To be continued.

Episode 8: The sisters creep up on Halloween


Cover art and illustrations by Joseph Mugnaini for Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree."
It was Halloween morning on Sycamore Avenue.  The previous night's slim chance of rain never materialized, fallen leaves remained crisp and noisy underfoot.  They skittered when rearranged by the cool north wind.

With their mother acting as trail boss and the voice of reason, the sisters and the brother-friends eventually began to arrange themselves in the car for the ride to school.  Mrs. Garrick would pick them up, assuming no incident occurred before the last bell rang.  Sireena had already been told she could not go barefoot, regardless of how that compromised the authenticity of her costume.  The sisters had each made a copy of the photo showing their vintage selves with dollies and wore it like a Comic-Con badge around her neck.  They wanted everyone to know how exactly like the long-vanished girls they were.  They hoped some of the less attentive students would believe they were their own ghosts. 

Starting somewhere around dawn or perhaps earlier, Ellington and Henri had arrived, ready for their make-up.  They'd made a pretty good start of it (had they slept at all?) but needed help reaching the backs of their necks and ears and the girls' unsurprisingly professional touches.  The pomade used to slick the boys' dark hair even smelled vaguely of flowers.  Ambulancia pulled a tin of it from their, as they called it, Trunk of Wonders where it may have rested since the 1930s.  One could not be sure.

Once they finished sewing their costumes, the girls took the various pieces outside, rumbled them around in dirt and dust, then smacked them half-way clean again so they had a lived-in look.   They powdered their skin and hair, shadowed their cheeks and eye sockets and did look convincingly spectral.  The last thing they wanted was to be mistaken for zombies, a costume they felt was just too common for words, though they understood why so many chose it.  Odd and screamy as they were, neither girl was unkind.  They rehearsed together paying sincere compliments to fellow students.  They were not snobs as some assumed,  they were simply great fans of nuance, as were the brothers, not that many of their contemporaries would notice.  Before piling in the car, they posed together and separately for photos to document this year's achievements.  The boys looked happily peculiar with clip-on bow ties attached to horizontally striped tee shirts, worn with plaid shorts, the waists of which reached nearly to their armpits.  None was trying for a Best Costume prize but instead savored the contentment which came from hard work and goals achieved.

As the car stopped at the curb, a minor hoard of zombies pretended to claw at the windows.  "Menace 101," whispered Ambulancia.  "Tell Allison her hair is fab," she reminded her sister.  "Tell Jaleel his fingernails terrify you."  With dramatic shudders at the horror they faced, the quartet squeezed from the car and the sisters began to shriek, another reason why Halloween was their favorite holiday.

  

Friday, October 30, 2015

Episode 7: The sisters creep up on Halloween

Comedian Harold Lloyd as a giant papier mache head.
The expression, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," could have been coined to describe Ambulancia, Sireena and their mother.  Creative extravagance ran through more than a couple generations of the family.  It manifested in the girls' mother in, among other things, the making of giant papier mache heads of beings known and unknown.  She, too, loved Halloween for its expressive vistas.  This year, even with a late start, she planned to fashion (in paste, old newspapers, cardboard, brown wrapping paper and paint) five of history's worst despots.  She could see them, spotlighted on the front lawn, a cautionary tale for trick-or-treaters who had enough curiosity to ask what or who they were.  How to pick just five!  The list was nearly endless.  She felt the enormous, heartless faces would help illustrate Santayana's quote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  Each moment was an opportunity to learn.

For the sisters, the love of old photographs began with their grandmother, whose collection of family members, contemporaries and chums kept the girls engrossed and quiet for hours on end, listening to stories, gossip and opinion concerning every face they studied.  Their mother inherited the stockpile and, knowing they'd learned to tread gently among the fragile portraits and snapshots, let the girls visit their ancestors as they wished.  In its way, the collection was a time machine.  They did love to look at some of their mother's almost-historic discoveries, referred to as The Archives, too, especially the giant heads, though they took equal delight in her vintage photographs of balloons from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.   None of them had yet devised a way to replicate those great floating beings but they were not ready to give up on the possibility.
Laurel and Hardy, from The Archives.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Episode 6: The sisters creep up on Halloween

Perhaps a life of ease and options, thought the brothers.  Photo found here.
(For those of you who saw the earlier version of this post, I've changed illustrations.  I presumed to borrow another artist's work, which had inspired the story, and did so without her blessing.  She was enormously gracious about the whole thing.)

Of course Halloween could not be creeping ever closer to the sisters (or vice versa) without a pow-wow with their best friends, the brothers Garrick, Ellington and Henri (pronounced on-REE).  As they had known the sisters since all were toddlers, they knew the girls' real names (which no one other than teachers ever used), calling them Cia and Ree.  As Henri, junior partner, liked to say to the younger girl, "We are practically name twins."

While Ambulancia and Sireena threw themselves like volcano sacrifices into the costumes of the season, the brothers favored clothing as close to normal as they could muster and extravagant face makeup, for which the sisters were their advisers and practitioners.  The boys would gladly have sported their Halloween pallor and smudged, sunken-appearing eyes year 'round but had to be content with as many days as they could squeeze out of the holiday without being ejected from public places, like the library.  When a staff member hissed at them, "Go wash your faces or go home," they invariably chose home after a pair of deep glowers and what they hoped were death-ray stares.  Yes, they practiced, in the mirror, on each other, on their parents, on the sisters.  They were actually quite fond of the library employees but boundaries were meant to be tested, or so they told themselves.  In their journals, each kept a running list of potential adult employment for which their painted faces would be suited.  The jobs of clown and mime did not appear on the list of either.  It pretty much narrowed down to something in the arts or wealthy eccentric.  Being creepy for no good reason didn't appeal to them, yet the thought of growing up wearing nothing but their own pinkish complexions day in and day out made them gloomy.  Ellington had the task of reassuring Henri that just because there was no solution today didn't mean there would never be one.  Henri hoped with crossed fingers that he was right. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Episode 5: The sisters creep up on Halloween


The truth was that each of the sisters could have had her own room.  Their home was spacious, rambling, not exactly ramshackle, not House Lovely.  Their enjoyment of each others' company, they knew, was not necessarily the usual thing.  If they'd had separate bedrooms they would just have spent all their time together in one or the other, so, they asked, what was the point?  The room they shared actually had its own sitting room which became their atelier as soon as they discovered their affinity for vintage clothes and fabrics.  Their mother helped them learn to sew, though Ambulancia became Sireena's mentor, bringing out the younger girl's astonishing natural ability.  Their mother told of her "home ec" class in junior high, back when the ability to sew was expected of girls.  The sisters howled with laughter imagining some of their classmates handed a pair of scissors during school hours.
Using as a pattern an Edwardian nightgown in their collection, the girls planned to adapt it as a pinafore to match the photo of what they called their antique selves.  When their mother discovered the tulle piled in a corner of the atelier, she knew enough not to ask but simply said, "Changed your minds, I see."  Without speaking, Ambulancia held up the photograph and kept sewing.  Time was short and there were miles to go.  Miles.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Word of the Week - 86

Painting "One Flew Over the Wasps Nest" by Vladimir Kush.

Word of the Week:  DUALITY

Want

The wasps outside
the kitchen window
are making that
thick, unraveling sound
again, floating in
and out of the bald head
of their nest,
seeming not to move
while moving,
and it has just occurred
to me, standing,
washing the coffeepot,
watching them hang
loosely in the air—thin
wings; thick, elongated
abdomens; sad, down—
pointing antennae—
that this
is the heart’s constant
project: this simple
learning; learning
how to hold
hopelessness
and hope together;
to see on the unharmed
surface of one
the great scar
of the other; to recognize
both and to make
something of both;
to desire everything
and nothing
at once and to desire it
all the time;
and to contain that desire
fleshly, in a body;
to wash it and rest it
and feed it; to learn
its name and from whence
it came; and to speak
to it—oh, most of all
to speak to it—
every day, every day,
saying to one part,
“Well, maybe this is all
you get,” while saying
to the other, “Go on,
break it open, let it go.”

“Want” by Carrie Fountain from Burn Lake. © Penguin, 2010. Reprinted with permission. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Episode 4: The sisters creep up on Halloween

Photo found by Ambulancia at the second-hand shop.

"Tell me this isn't us," Ambulancia demanded with a hiss once the sisters were back in their room.  "That's you, your I-just-got-away-with-murder demure smile."

Sireena took just a moment, swallowed, before saying, "It kind of scares me, in a good way.  They look just like us."  When she said, "In a good way," she gave a short cough to cover up nervousness.  Oh, it scared her.  And not in a good way, yet it was okay.  "Are we ghosts?" she asked.  "I mean, us, now.  Is that who we used to be?"

"Don't be such a duck," said Ambulancia scornfully.  "What a find!  We'll have to start our costumes all over again."

"What about our tiaras?" asked a somewhat down-hearted Sireena, who had become very fond of her bridesmaid/prom girl ensemble.  "I was looking forward to being faded pretty."

"I know," Ambulancia told her.  "Let's wear them the last day before Christmas vacation.  We'll say we thought it was a party day.  And no one else will be in costume.  All for us." At which they both smirked and muttered, "Heh heh."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Episode 3: The sisters creep up on Halloween

It was understood among family members that Ambulancia and Sireena would make their own costumes, no matter what they were, how sophisticated the design or engineering.  In their signature voices they lamented a return to school - the dress code violations at least temporarily cleared up - as taking away valuable creative time.  As though her "no shenanigans" look would carry any weight at all, their mother shooed them along the next morning.  Tomorrow she would need to write a note explaining their tardiness.  I think they arrived some time before lunch.

In their defense, the sisters, in addition to soaring inventiveness, could be said to possess, let's call them virtues.  They could sew like no others of the same ages and, at flea markets attended with their mother, collected not only bits of vintage fabrics and garments but sewing implements from another time, another place.  These they stored with surprising care in a shared curio cabinet.  The same piece of furniture was home to the disputed tiara but as though the glass-fronted case were sacred ground, no monkey business would ever intrude upon it there.
Cabinet photo source.
Vintage Chinese pincushion.

With the sisters' afternoons now full of costuming, a word they spoke in italics, home life became less high-pitched and confrontational.  Though one occasionally, and purely by accident, jabbed the other with a pin on its way back to the pincushion, the tone might have been called sedate.  Halloween was three days away.

"I am simply not tatty enough," shrieked Ambulancia suddenly.  "I need more trashed flowers flowers for my corsage."  They had not stuck with bridesmaids for long but shifted to something that sounded like (mumble, mumble) punk-slash-zombie prom girls, who, of course, would have wrist corsages., though they could still be bridesmaids.  "We never tell everything we know," was one of their mottoes.

"Is it too late to go to Blanche's?" Sireena shrilled, referring to a favorite junk/thrift/second hand store.  It was not too late, their mother drove them in their not-abnormal states of disarray and they plunged into the bins and boxes in which Blanche offered the ragout of hard-worn remnants of other lives that was her specialty.  Suddenly Ambulancia grabbed her little sister, none too gently, and held out an old studio photograph that caused Sireena to gasp.  They shuffled it in among their finds and hurried back to the car where they exchanged sinister grins and sidelong glances all the way home.  To be continued.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Episode 2: The sisters creep up on Halloween

A frou-frou bonanza.
The tiara in question.
Previously on "The sisters creep up on Halloween," 

The vintage tulle was taking on a fatigued air, belted as it was with gift wrapping ribbon and worn for days - and nights.  The tiara fared somewhat better, being more sturdily made and not being sat or slept upon.  Ambulancia built for herself a head-cradling pillow mound, tucked against the far wall side of her bed, that allowed her to sleep with the tiara in place and kept her unreachable by any hands seeking to plunder.  Her mother thought in sleep she resembled a half-mad dowager of royal ancestry determined to keep the throne, the rest of the world be damned.

As household nerves and costume materials began to fray, their mother asked the girls who exactly they planned to be for Halloween.  There was some muttering that sounded like "princesses" but one couldn't be certain.  "If we had two tiaras," shrilled Sireena, "we could be, like, zombie bridesmaids or, you know, just sort of Grey Gardens bridesmaids."

"Wilted, withered bouquets," Ambulancia volunteered.  "Chipped manicures, torn hems, smeary lipstick."  One of the things the girls loved best about costumes was makeup.  Lots and lots of experimenting with makeup.

"What if I got you matching tiaras, like bridesmaids would have?" their mother asked.  "Would that work?"  Shrugging, turning their faces away and mumbling, the girls said, "It might."  Their mother, whose temples already throbbed at the notion of these children referring to Grey Gardens as inspiration for costumes, nodded gently and said, "Good."  She helped Sireena release herself from the bunchy cloud of old gowns and saw that Ambulancia removed the antique tiara and put it away.

When their mother was out of the room, the sisters scowled at each other, battling with mean-eyed, squinty stares and stuck-out tongues.  Then each began to chuckle softly, little "heh heh heh" sounds.  Oh help us, with Halloween still so many days away.  To be continued.

Word of the Week - 85


Richard III, "The Daughter of Time."
Word of the Week:  MYSTERY

Discussing possibly the best mystery ever, Josephine Tey's "The Daughter of Time" - a friend of my son's had just read it and was urging him to do so - brought to mind other classics, favorites, of the genre.  To lounge about and read mysteries has been among life's great joys since I was in grade school.

Over many decades I've read my way through Dorothy L. Sayers,  Rex Stout, Raymond Chandler, P.D. James, Dashiell Hammett, Carolyn Keene, Francis and Richard Lockridge, Josephine Tey, Elmore Leonard, Deborah Crombie.  I've spent time with knitting mysteries, coffee house mysteries, scrapbooking (!) mysteries, cat and/or dog mysteries, cooking mysteries, horse racing mysteries.  I don't want to know, nor do I try to figure out who is responsible.  Those are surprises I enjoy.  Being the smartest guy in the room is seldom my goal.

I find life itself to be a daily mystery.  It may intrigue or merely baffle.  We have no idea how it comes out, other than that it does eventually cease.  Every moment is a new unknown.  There is much we can learn from the fictional sleuths for, in our way, each of us is a detective, following thin leads or playing our hunches.  Intuition is a great ally, for many people will tell us any old thing.  Knowing true from false is a desirable skill, one that can save us from some terribly unpleasant and startling moments.  But it comes with the territory.  At least everyday situations rarely leave us knocked unconscious, drugged with chloroform or attempting Houdini-like escapes.  Simply keeping our wits about us and our spirits buoyant is enough of a task.

Being of the old school, still having a land line without caller I.D., brings its own unexpected encounters.  Depending on the time of day, I may ignore any calls, see if there is a message or if it was just another robot.  In Los Angeles, I suppose our biggest current mystery is whether or not it IS an El Nino year, whether it will rain and, if so, when and for how long and then what do we do?  Venomous water snakes washing up on California beaches does not speak of good days to come.

The answer to most things is that we don't know.  Like members of a book club all making their way through the same story, we keep turning the pages to see what's next.  I promise to share any clue I find and hope you'll do the same.



Sunday, October 18, 2015

The sisters creep up on Halloween

Among their multiple imaginary personas.  Photo found here.
(For those of you who saw the earlier version of this post, I've changed illustrations.  I presumed to borrow another artist's work, which had inspired the story, and did so without her blessing.  She was enormously gracious about the whole thing.)




Referred to by their mother as Ambulancia and Sireena, these two unquiet children began the holy hell of costume planning weeks before Halloween.  Negotiations, if they could be called that, did not go smoothly.

They were a one-tiara family and Ambulancia, as the elder sister, claimed the crown as hers.  Sireena retaliated by grabbing all the pastel tulle from deconstructed prom dresses, lashing it about her waist, not unlike Odysseus and the mast, refusing to untie it or share unless some detente could be reached about the rhinestone head piece.  The wailings they generated caused drivers to pull over and stop as they motored north on Fair Oaks Avenue, scanning rear view mirrors for emergency vehicles which never materialized.

Matters at school were no less fraught, the wearing of tiaras and ballooning net overskirts being unwelcome on any day that wasn't actually Halloween.  The sisters, stubborn eyes agleam, were sent home for the duration.  They seemed oddly jubilant.  Even victorious.  The unplanned holidays gave them uncommitted hours to squabble and plot.  To be continued.  Honest.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Words, time and words, revisited

With art added to the original post, one from the vault. xo

 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Words, time and words


Paintings by Kristin Vestguard.
There is a shipwreck aspect to writing. Surrendering to the call means other pieces of life are abandoned. The tighter its grip, the farther I drift from ordinary. I hadn't thought of writing and me in these terms until today, until a ship I hadn't known I was waiting for sailed into view.

I am so thankful for the writers I have met recently through our blogs, yet it is still a solitary, lonely business. At times the connections make it feel more remote for I see where others have found the thread they need and I, in my own eyes, am stumbling around, getting my foot caught in a bucket, stepping on a rake, having misplaced the last known pencil. I find it impossible to explain the writing desire - or is it a compulsion? It is not like anything else that I can name...a day's work can produce pages of words, but if they are not the right words...

So much about life I find to be acts of faith and writing is surely one of them. So is getting out of bed in the morning. A writer has a place she wants the writing to take her - and those who read the words - but, at least as I practice it, the act is much closer to interpretive dance, I don't know which way I will bend until I do it, than to, say, something for which I have created an outline and have a...plan. I haven't done an outline for anything since junior college and what I remember is writing the outline after the paper. You can guess what that did to my grade.

The left side of my brain gets a lot rest. It is never invited over to play when I write; the times when it has popped in to see what we were up to, its suggestions made me feel like I was trying to swim while zipped into a sleeping bag. While taking part in a fiction writing workshop, someone asked (not the classic "where do you get your ideas?"), "How do you know what happens next?" The only, the honest answer was, "When the car pulls up, I wait to see who gets out and then tell about it."

My rescue vessel arrived in the form of a writer friend who has taken some time away from writing to do the work for which we rely on that other side of the brain. Life, rude and intrusive or the opposite, sometimes needs us to talk to attorneys, reduce soaring piles of magazines and mail, make arrangements, show up. But in talking to her, feeling our mutual urgency about whatever it is that we're doing - for neither of us is sure, we just know we have to do it - I wept for knowing that this is not madness and that fact could be confirmed.

Drama in my everyday world is, in my opinion, something loathsome and to be avoided. When I use a word like madness my self-regulator tries to give me the stink eye. I look away, knowing this isn't the exaggeration it might seem. Pushing forward with a body of work that is not a novel, not a collection of poems or short stories, more a gathering of thoughts from heart, mind and spirit, is not a wholly rational act and, because of its solitary nature, becomes a questionable investment of all the resources, down to those dollar coins the post office machines give as change.

It may be a measure of commitment, the single mindedness that makes it possible to float so far from known landmarks without having a clue that I am no longer tethered. The work may be epic, the work may be one paragraph that builds upon another, or one word, followed by three more, but the force it exerts once the call is answered could pull a bulldozer out of quicksand.

One of my core beliefs is that each of us is called to something and as long as it does no harm, the possibilities are infinite. I wobbled and waffled for years, trying to understand the call, trying to meet its expectations, halfway trying to dodge it and substitute an activity like writing. It now has me for however long it takes or however long I last. There are far more meanings to the word surrender than waving the white flag.

18 comments:

Erin in Morro Bay said...
"There are far more meanings to the word surrender than waving the white flag." What a beautiful sentence - I stand in awe at times observing the power of your words.
Erin
Penelope said...
'It now has me for however long it takes...' Yes, the demanding task. We have each been given one, it seems. 'Alas!' or 'Joy!' — depending on the day or hour. Strength to you, Marylinn.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Erin - Thank you so much...we who have this calling, this goal, all I know to do is press on, which I know you understand.

Penelope - Equal measures, sometimes, yet leaning toward joy...imagine what ill-fitting tasks might have come our way (although I don't believe that would happen). Thank you, and strength in your endeavors, as well.
Sherry O'Keefe said...
A writer has a place she wants the writing to take her -


several times lately you've made a comment that has been a key to the lock that has stifled me. the above line has helped me find my place again in my empty journal.
Robert the Skeptic said...
The need within me to write is not very compulsive. I think about the millions of books and the ga-zillion words that have been committed to paper and doubt that there would be anything I could ad that would be of any significance whatsoever.

But as a filmmaker, the parallel thought troubles me. Film is my media. I had a compelling and unique story to tell. But now that the story has been told, what then? Do I seek another? Do I wait until one presents itself? Or do I say, my one contribution is of significance on it's own merit and I need say no more.

It seems writers, though, are compelled to write or they cease to exist. Am I wrong?
Donna B said...
Marylinn, you and I seem to be tethered to the same realization. We have done this before... In reading your post, I thought of a book I am reading: SHADOW DIVERS by Robert Kurson. It is about some American shipwreck divers who find an unknown German U-boat off the New Jersey coast. It is a true story and a movie is coming out in 2010...

In the book, describing the diving, (of which I have never experienced) they dive down 250 feet to the wreck, following a dive line. Visability is poor. They have so much time to search, then the majority of the time, they must return to the diving line, taking up to 90 minutes to decompress as they slowly rise to the surface.

This reminds me of what you were saying in your post about writing. It takes focus, disapline, risk, patience, following a plan, a structure, guidelines. Contrary to what I thought, the majority of the divers preferred to dive and search alone.

It is like diving, in that we dive into a dark abyss with a premise, a thought, an outline... we think we know where we are going, but then something else pops up and we want to explore it. We cannot deviate or allow our folly to overcome us or we lose our perspective.

We need to colaborate and support one another. I want to do a book on my Dad. I feel like someone dumped a truckload of slippery seaweed on me. I feel all tangled and confused. Overwhelmed and unsure where to start...

I can so relate to the solitary isolation of writing. We need a support group. That is the purpose of my blog, Discovering The Purpose Of Our Lives...we need to start a writers support group. What do you think?

Also, I went to Penny's (Penny's Word) blog and discovered it had been deleted. I emailed her personal email, hoping her daughter or husband would check it and give me an update, so I could share it with you and Jerry (as I know you both follow her too). I have not heard a word. Have you?
I am just sick about her accident and hope she has not had a turn for the worse...
Donna B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laoch of Chicago said...
This is beautifully expressed.
Claire Beynon said...
Yes, yes, Marylinn. Surrender can be an act of courage, whether it has to do with standing up or standing down?

Thank you for another rich post. As other readers here have already said, your words are powerful, illuminating, a bunch of keys offered up in open hands - and so much more besides.

Seems to me you are doing what you must - writing. Because you have to and because you have valuable things to communicate. Your words contribute meaningfully to our community and connect up all kinds of dots along their way.
angela simione said...
"...and I, in my own eyes, am stumbling around, getting my foot caught in a bucket, stepping on a rake, having misplaced the last known pencil."

such a resonance. with the entire post, and especially this sentance. the drawings and bits of writing are some sort of attempt at manufacturing a flashlight for myself. a way to see the world so i can actual ask a question. pin a question down. and more often than not, i feel like i'm flailing rather than searching. but i've chosen to just keep on responding to whatever call this is. i can't not respond to it.

your statement "One of my core beliefs is that each of us is called to something and as long as it does no harm, the possibilities are infinite." is a massive comfort to me and right away i trust such an assertion. i need to trust it, i suppose. and to know that i am not the only diver in the dark, to use another commenter's metaphor.

thank you, marylinn

<3 p="">
Marylinn Kelly said...
Sherry - Thank you for telling me. I am so glad that you have found your place in what is, by now, a journal no longer empty. To think that what we need to find for ourselves, when scattered, may be seen as valuable by others...I could not hope for more.

Robert - I can't say that my need to write contains anything as altruistic as adding to the vast body of written work; a thought that seems meaningful in my head may be much less so when exposed to the light. We get to write. We take nothing away from anyone by doing so. And while we (I assume) still exist whether we write or not, the experience is painfully diminished.

With film as a medium, the process of creating is, first of all, more logistically complex. If you do it without collaboration, many skills are required. I guess my question is, what part of it is the most fulfilling? I interned at a cable station, learning camera, editing, make-up, on-air, news writing...of which I really loved the camera and, briefly, especially after watching Haskell Wexler's work, thought of making documentaries.

From the stories you share on your blog, it seems clear that you know what is worth telling. We, and the world, contain endless points of view, myriad stories. Of course your contribution is significant and stands alone. But does the process keep tugging at you? I believe your eye will lead you. I am coming to accept that the act of working at something we love is sufficient in itself; that we have a result or a product is a gift. If you want to talk more about this, I am happy to continue the dialogue.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Donna - Thank you for your thoughtful comment on this post. I understand what you are saying, though I think we may each have a unique approach to our process. For some, collaboration is an effective answer, for others, it may need to be more solitary. I have found what I would call a supportive community through meeting other blog authors who write or produce creative material. For me, right now, I find the day doesn't have enough hours or I don't have quite enough of myself in it. Just the process of writing what I do write requires pushing ahead with as little distraction as I can arrange.

I am not good at a plan, I never have been, unless the plan is simply showing up at the keyboard. I know that consistency through structure works very well for many highly successful writers. But I think intuition also plays an important part in what we create. If some nugget appears and lures us in a different direction, how can we know its value if we don't pursue it, at least for a while?

The project you are taking on, the book about your father, must feel overwhelming as you look at the sum of his, so far, 90 years. You notice I write in short, posting-length blurts. For today, that's what I can manage. Sometimes we benefit from setting the piece aside and either writing - or doing - something else, often returning with a fresh point of view. We can talk of this more, and I know we will. But right now, I don't feel that I am able to commit to being a reliable, participating member of a support group but am there in spirit with all you gather.

And I haven't heard any more about Penny, but suspect that her family is focused on seeing her recover and keeping themselves as close to normal as they can. I know there must be many eager to know how she's doing,but we are, at best, a distant thought. And seeing how they stepped forward immediately to let us know of her accident and progress, I think we will hear when there is something to report. For now, all I know to do is keep them all in my thoughts.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Laoch - Thank you so much, I appreciate your words and they help encourage me for whatever is next.

Claire - My thanks to you. I read your comment to a friend who understood how much it means to be seen as contributing to the greater community. You and Sherry both mentioned keys which tells me that what I dig for and unearth as part of my process resonates more widely, which is so affirming. May we and our dots continue to connect.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Angela - You are far from the only diver in the dark, as Donna helped us know. My sense is, however, that all of life is like that, not just creating. It is not a negative aspect, it simply is, and the more often we acknowledge that and speak of it to one another, the closer we feel to whatever is the center.

It may be a defective part of me, but I am wary of the supremely overconfident. Doubt may be the shameful sock with the hole that we put on - forgot the laundry, again - when we wear our best suit and best face to go out and champion ourselves. I have trouble believing that anyone is without at least a particle of it.

It could just be for today and tomorrow I will have a very different tune, but I think there is something almost giddy about the magnitude of uncertainty we humans face. What warriors, what optimists we are to keep showing up when nothing is promised or guaranteed.

TO ALL WHO HAVE COMMENTED: Again, I thank you for helping create a serious, meaningful dialogue about our shared process...I am, at times, briefly overcome and need a space before I reply. You all make this so much more than I ever expected. xoxo
Donna B said...
Hello again dear friend. I am sad to bring this terrible tragic news, my Penny's husband emailed me. She died 8-26-10 of a cerebral hemmorhage and was buried yesterday afternoon. Her blog and email have been deleted. I wrote about her yesterday on both my blogs.

I keep re-reading your blog. You express yourself so elequently and the words you choose are so inspiring and magical, generating seeds of creative thought as I read them.

You are your Father's daughter and he has passed a talented gift onto you. Embrace it, because you have an incredible and captivating way with words.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Oh, Donna, I am shocked and saddened to learn about Penny. Halfway around the world, known only through our blogging correspondence, she was so full of life and love for her family, so generous with her praise. If you are in further touch with her husband, please share my condolences and healing thoughts. I am so sorry.

Thank you for letting me know, as well as any others who come here who followed her writing and photography. And I so appreciate your kind words. Aren't we fortunate that our mutual compulsion brought us together. Take care, my friend. xoxo
RachelVB said...
Marylinn,
this is a beautiful post. I often wonder about the walking world and the writing world. The further I go into the writing world, the longer I want to stay there. Can it lead to obsession at some point? There is a pull to immerse myself in that world because it is a world of color and fear and creativity and so much possibility. It is a muddy world where nothing is clear. I'm learning this the more I make myself a part of it.
We are lonely creatures and want so much to be a part of things.
I haven't had much time to write in the past couple of days and my need is even greater than it was when I was doing it every day.
I feel it is the most natural high. It's a drug to me - that's the only likeness I can find. It's a want. It has highs and lows.
All I know is that I can't stop it. and my need for it is something I may never be able to touch. But it will move me forward in life and writing.
Once again I think we need balance between the worlds - but that differs for every person. I love both aspects of my life - walking and writing. I want to maintain both.
You are not alone in what you feel - though we feel our loneliness in such drifts.
xo
Rachel
Marylinn Kelly said...
Rachel - Thank you. I think all who respond to a call of creative work find their feet in two worlds. Then, for me, one day the call became more insistent and I knew, as there can only be one thing at the top of the list, that it was writing. The process for me, for today, is about the doing and not about the destination. It may be an obsession, it demands a great deal and it absolutely is a high, it is breathing. But I do think that we are allowed a certain balance - where else will we gather the images and ideas to translate into words? - while acknowledging that we have given ourselves to this task. I am quite sure there are many of us, each forging ahead in our unique way. xoxo Marylinn