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The Words Fit the Music, or Not

 

Do not fear. This post begins with a little poetry, but it soon veers off in a different direction.

[I don’t know what happened to the double-spacing between paragraphs. It’s there in the draft, but then some of it vanished. I hope this isn’t difficult to read.]

Because Emily Dickinson wrote many of her poems using the ballad stanza, they can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” You might like to try it yourself.

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry. . . . 

or

He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality. . . .
Some of Dickinson’s poems don’t sound quite right sung to that tune, but it can be done.
Sometimes it works the other way. Lyricists—or somebody—take a well-known melody and write their own words. For example, there’s John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” No matter who plays it, I hear Mitch Miller’s version:
Be kind to your web-footed friends,
For a duck may be somebody’s mother,
Be kind to your friends in the swamp
Where the weather is very, very damp,
You may think that this is the end.
Well, it is!
Another tune that lends itself to parody was originally known as “John Brown’s Body,” but is now famous as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Here’s the hymn performed by the United States Army Field Band.
Please excuse me, but I always cry when I hear it. You might do so as well, so we’ll take a few moments out for that.
But rest assured—the remainder of this post will prompt no tears at all.
Children have for decades sung their own lyrics to the “Battle Hymn.”
“Glory, glory hallelujah
teacher hit me with a ruler
I bopped her on the bean
with a rotten tangerine
and she ain’t gonna teach no more.”
The lyrics get worse, so that’s as far we’ll go with that one.
Often, lyrics are written as mnemonics. When I was in paralegal school, I set a portion of the Texas Probate Code to the tune of “The Battle Hymn” to help me remember content for an exam. It’s called “John Brown’s Intestacy” and explains what happens to the property of a person who dies without leaving a will.
I’m proud of it because, in 2003, when I wrote it, it was accurate,* and composing it was a mammoth task.
If you’ve read it, you probably won’t read it again. If you haven’t, it might prove interesting. There’s a story, not just facts. You may sing it if you want.
Melvil Dewey. Author unknown. Public domain. Via Wikipedia.

Before paralegal school, when I was a librarian, I wrote a “Battle Hymn” explaining the Dewey Decimal System of Classification. The idea was to teach children the Dewey decades by having them learn the song. Unfortunately, it turned out, like the system, long and complex. Elementary students couldn’t have learned it in the twenty minutes a week I had with them, and no self-respecting high school student would have touched it.

In addition, I got stuck, couldn’t finish two of the verses, and stopped. I thought it was lost, but today, twenty-five years later, I found it in a box of old papers.
It isn’t perfect. I consider it a work in progress.
But it’s accurate.
Dewey Marches On 

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Melvil Dewey plan.
He hath numbered all the classes so that we can understand
How to find those books and shelve those books, both squeaky clean and banned.
Our Dewey numbers on!

REFRAIN:
Glory, glory Melvil Dewey!
His Decimal System is so true. We
Now sing the praise that he is due-ey.
Our Dewey numbers on!

Generalia is a class designed to hold a lot of kinds
Of subjects like computers, magazines, and quotes. We find
It’s zero-zero-zero up through zero-ninety-nine.
Our Dewey numbers on!

100’s for philosophy, beliefs of humankind,
And also for psychology, the workings of the mind,
And ghosts and magic, ESP, and dreams that are divined.
Our Dewey numbers on!

200’s for religion—Bible stories, the Koran,
The Talmud—all the sacred book explaining God to man;
Mythology from Greece and Rome and many other lands.
Our Dewey numbers on!

300 is for social science, things that people do
To live together, like make laws, build schools, have manners, too.
Folk stories are a special treat—398.2.
Our Dewey numbers on!

Dewey spine labels. CC BY-SA-3.0. Via Wikipedia.

400 is for language—English, Spanish, German, Greek.
The dictionary tells us meanings of the words we seek,
The alphabet and languages we sign as well as speak.
Our Dewey numbers on!

Natural science is 500, mathematics is a start,
The solar system, heat and light, and weather are a part,
Wild animals and vegetables and minerals we sort.
Our Dewey numbers on!

600’s for technology—what we use science for,
Space travel and inventions, farming, cooking are just four,
And doctors for both folks and pets, and building things and more.
Our Dewey numbers on!

With arts and recreation, 700’s just for fun!
It’s sports and games and making crafts and paintings that we’ve done.
Photography and music make this class a number one!
Our Dewey numbers on!

800 is for literature, the books we love to read,
There’re plays and poems—Where the Sidewalk Ends and Hamlet’s deed,
And even jokes and riddles—almost more than we will need.
Our Dewey numbers on!

900 holds our history, the years that came before.
Geography tells where we are and where we might explore.
Remember that the Alamo’s 976.4!
Our Dewey numbers on!

To Dewey add some letters and our system is complete.
REF for Reference, F for fiction, B’s Biography.
And E for Easy/Everybody’s picture books so neat.
Our Dewey numbers on!

REFRAIN:
Glory, glory Melvil Dewey!
His Decimal System is so true. We
Now sing the praise that he is due-ey.
Our Dewey numbers on!

***

 

DISCLAIMER CONCERNING THE PROBATE CODE:

*The substance of the Texas Probate Code was codified in the Estates Code by the 81st and 82nd Legislatures, and for that reason, the Texas Legislative Council is not publishing it. If you would like more information, please contact the Texas Legislative Council.

In other words, “John Brown’s Intestacy” is no longer accurate. And the author is not attempting to practice law without a license.

***

Image of rose by JacLou DL from Pixabay

Alien Resort: The Bride Was Lovely

King Benjamin of the Archipelago reported the marriage of Coy and Susan on the Alien Resort blog, but in a just-the-facts-ma’am account, lacking the detail readers expect in the Sunday Society rotogravure. Well, that is men for you. Fortunately, I paid attention to the matters of most importance and am pleased to supplement King Benjamin’s account. King Benjamin gave me permission to post this, although he noted it’s awfully fancy. ~ Queen Ramona


*

Not Consuelo Vanderbilt’s wedding dress. See note at end of post.

Coy of Alien Resort and Susan of Alpha Pegasi exchanged marriage vows on Wednesday, July 15, 2020,  with Spaceship Captain Plucky officiating.

Social distancing was in effect at all times.

The bride was lovely in a floor-length gown of cream satin with a ten-foot train, fashioned after the dress worn by Consuelo Vanderbilt at her 1895 marriage to the 9th Duke of Marlborough. Her low-heeled slippers were of cream peau-de-soie.

Susan carried a tropical cascade bouquet of Asiatic lilies, ranunculus, and bright blue orchids. Around her neck she wore an antique pearl choker belonging to Queen Ramona, thus completing the tradition of old-new-borrowed-blue.

Ladies-in-waiting were attired less sumptuously but just as attractively in floor-length gowns of orange organza with ruffles at neckline and wrist.

The groom, best man Deadpan, and groomsman Dan Rosandich of Dans Cartoons wore black Vera Wang notch lapel tuxedos. The soles of the groom’s shoes were painted black so they wouldn’t look all dusty when he knelt.

Best man Deadpan carried the rings. Coy had considered having a juvenile ring bearer but dropped the idea when Susan reminded him that children, although cute, are unreliable.

Queen Ramona wore a rhinestone tiara and her Writers’ League of Texas sunglasses, the latter in hopes that no one would recognize her.

The altar was tastefully decorated with a lovely gift of flowers from bluejayblog.

Security was provided by Jett of Comically Quirky and Toby of the Adventures of Bitey Dog. All guests being of a peaceable nature, no biting occurred.

Following the wedding ceremony, guests partook of refreshments of brownies, mixed nuts, and pink champagne, with the option of plain pink punch for teetotalers.

 

Coy and Susan were especially honored by the presence of a Special Guest, the author of mydangblog, who came all the way from Canada to attend the reception.

Unfortunately, the bride and groom skipped the brownies and left for their honeymoon immediately after the service, and most of the guests followed throwing birdseed, so the crowd at the reception was rather sparse, and the guest author was stuck talking to Queen Ramona and an anonymous Truck Driver. The Queen and the Truck Driver enjoyed the conversation immensely, and the mydangblog author proved a really good sport.

When the festivities ended, King Benjamin announced that a good time had been had by all.

Queen Ramona surveyed the leftover brownies and begged guests to take as many as they could carry because there were at least 3,000 and the palace freezer wouldn’t hold them all. She said she’ll store the champagne in the wine cellar for future celebrations.

After a honeymoon of sightseeing at the main island of the archipelago, Coy and Susan are at home at their spaceship at Alien Resort.

***

Coy and Susan extend thanks to all who celebrated with them. They’re especially grateful to Zoom for assistance with social distancing.

***

Image of wedding rings by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Image of brownie by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Image of pink champagne by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Image of the dress not belonging to Consuelo Vanderbilt comes from Flickr and is in the public domain. It is identified as American and dated 1894. It’s not so opulent as that worn by Miss Vanderbilt, no ten-foot train (or five-foot train, depending on the source) but it’s as close as I can get without possibly violating copyright or paying a licensing fee.

Many and varied dresses show up on the Internet identified as the Vanderbilt wedding gown. The one I believe is accurate, which  appeared in a magazine of the time, is available for use on the web for about $44.00. I’m not that desperate.

Reverted to Type

(The following was first posted on partner blogs
Ink-Stained Wretches and Austin Mystery Writers.
I wrote it, but, due to technical difficulties,
couldn’t reblog it here.
Had to post the whole shebang again.)

When I opened my personal blog, back in the Dark Ages, I titled it To Write Is to Write Is to Write. I intended to tell everything I know about writing.

Everything I knew filled roughly 2.5 posts.

Now I write about what I don’t know about writing and leave giving advice to those who know what they’re doing.

Reverting to my old librarian persona, I also write about blogs by writers who aren’t anywhere near running out of material. Here’s a short list.

Friday Fictioneers

Each Friday, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields invites readers to compose 100-word stories based on a photo prompt. Writers post stories on their own blogs and then link to an inLinkz list to share with other Fictioneers and with the public. It’s fun. Specific rules are found here.

Sammi Cox

Sammi Cox posts a weekend word prompt: The rules: “Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.” Participants are free to link their efforts in the comments.

Chris the Story Reading Ape

TSRA introduces readers to authors, gives authors a platform, and provides information for writers aspiring to be published.

—from Uninspired Writers“Writer’s Block? Relax! Do Something Else”

—from Jami Gold: “Tips for Creating the Right Impression of Our Characters”

—from Lucy Mitchell: “Why Some Stories Are Like Bridges to Other Stories” 

—from Anne R. Allen’s Blog  . . . with Ruth Harris: “Freewrite: How to Write About Traumatic Events Without Adding More Trauma” by Marlene Cullen

TSRA also promotes—and thank goodness, considering how much writers need it—”FUN and an OASIS OF CALM and Font of useful Knowledge andTips for Indies (please do NOT feed my naughty chimps or they may follow you home) from the woes and stresses of the real world”—such as,

“LOLs Courtesy of BlueBird.”

Kate Shrewsday

Kate was on a bit of a hiatus for a while but is back now with “Social Distancing for Dogs.” She’s posted a lot of dog stories—my favorites are about the dear (and sometimes smelly) Macaulay, the dog with the Neville Chamberlain mustache, including

“The Miasmatron: Or Never Feed Steak to a Dog”

“The Terrier’s Apprentice”

“The Day the Dog Did What He Was Told” [with video]

Rummage through her blog. You’ll find many more gems on many more subjects.

Hugh’s News and Views

Hugh posts about “this, that, and everything else,” but my favorite posts are the Blogging Tips, such as,

“7 Things To Lookout For Before Following A Blog”

“How to Use Excerpts to Get More Visitors to Read Your Blog”

and one treasure for WordPress users:

“How to Backup Your WordPress Blog to Prevent Losing All Its Contents”

A Pondering Mind

A Pondering Mind posts words of wisdom,

Old wisdom:

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” ~ Rene Descartes

New wisdom:

“We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.” ~ Stephen Hawking

And—again, thank goodness—amusing wisdom:

“Do you know how helpless you feel if you have a full cup of coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze?” ~ Jean Kerr

*

I could go on—my first draft is twice as long as this one—but the deadline loomed hours ago. I hope you’ll check out some of these blogs. And I hope you enjoy them and return for more.

And—do you have any blogs you’d like to share? Including your own. Record them in a comment.

***

Image  of New York City Public Library lion by Chinem McCollum from Pixabay

Image of apes and books by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

Image of cowboy reading by mosla99 from Pixabay

***

My blog’s original title, To Write Is to Write Is to Write, is a fragment of a quotation from Gertrude Stein, who knew how to write and who told Ernest Hemingway how to write.

The current title comes from the first chapter of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain knew all about writing. Ernest Hemingway said so.

Reception Invitation–Please Share

Coy and Susan are getting married at Alien Resort, and you’re invited to the reception on Zoom. Sign the wedding guest book (link in this post)–a link to your site will be displayed, and you’ll receive the link to the reception.

Alien Resort

I’m Plucky, a spaceship captain and the ranking officer at Alien Resort island. I’m proud to be a friend of both Coy, the founder of Alien Resort, and my roommate Susan, who lived with her parents in the island’s mountains for thousands of years. We hope you’ll join in their good fortune by adding your link to the wedding guest book. And  watch for details about the costume (optional) Zoom reception–everyone’s invited. I asked Deadpan if he was going to pick out a goose; he said he might take a gander.

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Some Wallers

 

 

Joe Waller, Rob Waller, Graham Waller, Bill Waller, Donald Waller, ca. 1980.

Bill, fourth from the left, is my father. Joe, Graham, and Donald are my uncles. Collectively, they were known as “the Waller boys.” There were a number of other Waller boys in town, but these four, along with their brother Maurice, who died in 1952, were the.

Rob is their first cousin.

The snapshot was taken at the Fentress United Methodist Church homecoming, ca. 1980. That was the last time they were all together.

Vida Woodward Waller (my grandmother) & Jessie Waller, ca. 1910

 

Frank Waller (Dad), ca. 1952
Billie Waller, ca. 1920
Billie Waller, ca. 1943, while stationed in Scotland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Happens

Harlem

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

— Langston Hughes, 1951

***

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/LangstonHughes.jpg
Langston Hughes, 1936, by Carl Van Vechten. Public domain.

Learning Stuff

I am learning to use the WordPress Block Editor.

First task: insert images, one from WordPress free photo library and one from my computer.

Two Cats

Photo by kendra coupland on Pexels.com
Photo by kathy waller

Second task: Insert a gallery

More cats

Third task: Resize and align an image

One Tee-shirt

Resized and aligned center

Fourth task: insert verse

William Bit Me

William bit me at the vet,
Didn't like the aide's assistance,
Used his claws and fangs to set
On the path of most resistance.
Say I'm teary, say I'm mad,
Say that pills and needles hit me,
Say my arm's inflamed, and add,
William bit me.

***

That’s all I intend to learn today.

#AtoZChallenge 2020: X Is for ‘Xcitement, Too Much, Too Soon

 

I woke late this morning. The day was overcast, blinds were drawn, room was dim.

On the wall to my right, I saw a thing.

It was a brown, elongated thing, about four inches from on end to the other, two-thirds of the way up the wall, behind the cedar chest, pointing toward the ceiling.

I couldn’t remember any light switches or thermostats in the vicinity. I sat  up, squinted. Squinted some more.

Got up, tiptoed—why?—to lamp on left side of the room, turned it on, advanced a half-step toward the unidentified object.

Saw little horns sticking out of the end at the top.

Called for David. “Now!”

He came. “A slug!”

He picked up a shoe.

“Noooooooo.”

He ran for a paper towel.

The camera was in the living room. “Should we take a picture first?” I stepped toward the door.

“It might get away.” Paper towel in hand, David pounced, then ran.

There went my chance for authentic photo on my blog post.

He returned. “I relocated it.”

And all was well.

But questions remain:

Where did he come from? How did he get in? Where had he been hiding?

How long did it take him to crawl up that wall? I mean, he’s a slug. Sluggish. Did he cover all that territory while I slumbered only inches away?

What if he had turned toward the bed instead of away from it? Would I have opened my eyes and found myself nose to nose with him?

And, more to the point—

Was he alone? Or did he have company? Are there more? His spouse? His children? His sisters and his cousins and his aunts?

His sisters and his cousins,
Whom he reckons up by dozens,
And his aunts!

***

Image by ariesa66 from Pixabay

#AtoZChallenge 2020: W Is for What (a Fun Read)

Jack Cowherd (NOT Cow-erd) has just been elected Governor of Texas when he learns that Texas is no longer part of the United States—it happened fast, and not the way you think—and he’s actually President of the brand new Second Republic of Texas.  After a ceremony at the State Capitol, Jack, his wife Nadine (well endowed, but not with brains), his chief of staff Tasha Longoria (overqualified in both brains and common sense), newly dug-up chauffeur Rusty. and “fuzzy-cheeked” aide Shane arrive Austin’s Camp Mabry to inspect the Texas Freedom Militia. When you don’t have an official military, you go with what you’ve got.

*

They arrived at Camp Mabry, once home to the Texas National Guard; now occupied by the Texas Freedom Militia. Rusty slowed the Lincoln and turned into the main entry drive. Two camo-clad militia members immediately stepped out of a small booth in front of the gate. One held up his hand. Rusty braked to a stop.

The militiaman with his hand up ambled over to the driver’s window. Rusty lowered it and stuck his head out. “We’re here for the inspection,” he said.

The militiaman said, “May I see your papers, please?”

“We don’t have any papers,” said Rusty. “We’re not with the militia.”

“I know that, sir. That’s why I need to see some identification.”

Rusty smiled. “Oh, why didn’t you say so?” He handed over a card from his wallet.

The militiaman scrutinized the plastic card. “This is your Costco membership, sir. I need your driver’s license.”

“Uh, the thing is, I don’t have it on me.”

“What?” said Tasha. “You’re the driver and you don’t have a license?”

“I have a license. I just don’t have it here, is all.”

“Well, where is it?”

Rusty furrowed his brow. “You know, I think I left it at the bowling alley last night when I rented these shoes.” He pulled a foot onto the seat to show Shane. “See, I’m still wearing them.”

Shane said, “He’s right, ma’am. Those are bowling shoes.”

The militiaman leaned in toward Rusty. “I can’t let you in wearing bowling shoes, sir.”

“What difference does it make what shoes I’m wearing?”

“What I mean is, you can’t come in without identification.”

Tasha opened her door and stepped out of the car. The second militiaman jumped back, whipped out a Glock pistol, and pointed it at her. “Get back in the car right now!”

Tasha glared at him. “Or what, you’ll shoot the president’s chief of staff?”

Camp Mabry Howitzer. By Leonardocognoscenti, CC BY-SA 4.0. Via Wikipedia.

The militiaman lowered the gun in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“Look in the back seat. That’s Jack Cowherd, president of the Republic of Texas.”

The man peered into the car. “Shit, Lonnie, she’s right. They could have told us.”

“Well I’ll be goddamned,” said the man called Lonnie. “What brings you to Camp Mabry, sir?”

Jack got out of the car. “General Cummings invited me to inspect the troops You boys don’t want to keep him waiting, do you?”

“No, sir!” said Lonnie, saluting. “Nate, put that gun away.”

Nate quickly holstered the pistol. “Sorry, sir . . . ma’am. Just trying to be safe, you know. Just last week they caught a Muslim terrorist over in Copperas Cove.”

“That wasn’t no terrorist,” said Lonnie. “That was a Mexican woman at the swimming pool with a towel on her head.”

“Yeah, but they didn’t know that until they pulled it off and she yelled something in Spanish.”

Tasha said, “I’ll bet it was ‘Give me my towel back, you idiot.”

“No, I think it had more cuss words.”

“Excuse me, boys,” said Jack, “y’all are doing a fine job but I wonder if we could go meet the general now.”

“Yes, sir!” the militiamen shouted in unison. They stepped away from the car and raised the gate.

Jack and Tasha got back in the Lincoln. As the car rolled trough the gate Tasha noticed both guards snapping iPhone pictures of the vehicle. Rusty said, “Damn, I’ll sleep better tonight knowing they caught that Isis woman in Copperas Cove.”

***

Jeffrey Kerr. The Republic of Jack

Says the author, “The Republic of Jack is a whimsical imagining of a world in which modern Texas secessionists get their way, only to learn that Aesop was right so many years when he wrote, ‘Be careful what you wish for.'”

#AtoZChallenge 2020: V Is for Vision, Victims, & Videos

Regarding vision: I need new glasses.

I purchased the ones I’m wearing three years ago, about a year after completing several months of chemotherapy. I’m not surprised that my vision has changed since then. I am surprised that distance vision has improved.

I take my glasses off when I drive, a no-no in the sight of the law. If the DMV ever opens again, I’m going to run right down, take the test, and get the corrective lenses restriction taken off my license.

If the ophthalomologist ever opens again, I’m going to run right down and get a new prescription—clear glass (polycarbonate?), with a near vision bifocal.

Although, who knows? Given enough time, maybe the near vision will straighten itself out, too.

Regarding victims: I’m not one.

I’m sitting in my living room with husband and cats, a view of trees and grass, occasionally a dog leashed to its walker, squirrels skittering by. TV, laptop, e-reader, wi-fi. Food on the shelf and on order, retailers ready to ship or deliver. Taking care of myself, being taken care of.

I’m not having the time of my life. I miss sitting in a coffee shop with my critique group, attending Sisters in Crime meetings, wandering through bookstores, going to movies, doing what I want, when I want. I need a haircut and some new clothes, or I would need new clothes if I were going anywhere.

I’m classed as high-risk, so venturing out can be scary. I’m sad. I’m worried. Some days I’m depressed. I can’t imagine a future any different from today.

I’m angry at government corruption and mismanagement and negligence in the face of the pandemic. I’m angry at ignorance and stupidity and selfishness and cruelty displayed by people old enough and smart enough to do better. I’m angry at the arrogance of Rugged Individualists who proclaim that the government has no responsibility at all in this crisis, that each person is responsible for his own survival, period.

In fact, I’m a lot of things.

But so what?

I haven’t lost my job. I’m not waiting for an overdue unemployment check  or worrying that my business will fail. I’m not a single parent homeschooling my children while working from home, or while not working at all.

I’m not a doctor or nurse or respiratory therapist. I don’t clean hospital rooms or keep the A/C operating. I don’t do other essential work and wonder if my mask and gloves are protecting me, and whom I need protection against.

A friend’s mother has died of COVID-19. A former student, now a medical doctor, has COVID. A cousin can’t visit her husband at the nursing home where he lives; they’ve been married more than sixty years, and she can’t visit him.

I haven’t lost someone I love. I haven’t been barred from seeing someone I love.

My husband is here with me and he’s well.

I’m bored, and I need a haircut.

If I want to be a victim, I’ll have to come up with a lot better excuse than that.

Regarding videos: Laughter may not be the best medicine, but it’s good for the immune system and the emotions and can be an effective painkiller, and a movie that makes you laugh is a joy forever.

My favorite old joys forever:

The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

My Fellow Americans

And a favorite new joy, The Imposters. It’s so funny, it ought to be old.*

*The Imposters was released in 1998, but I didn’t hear about it for a long time.

My Fellow Americans was released in 1996, so maybe it’s new.

#AtoZChallenge 2020: U Is for Upside Down & Boring

 

I went in for a regular infusion appointment today. In place of a purse, I took a large zip-lock bag containing driver’s license, insurance cards, phone, cash, two pens, three sheets of copy paper (used to be typing paper), a package of Kleenex, keys, and hand sanitizer; and a blue pillowcase containing Chromebook, mouse, and Kindle.

The zip-lock bag is my new washable purse. The pillowcase is my new washable tote. They make me feel a bit like Little Orphan Annie.

I also took my cane. Just in case.

After passing the temperature check in the foyer, I tripped over my cane three times getting to the waiting room fifteen feet away, signed in, sat down, and put the zip-lock bag into the pillowcase. It’s easier not to trip over your cane when possessions are consolidated into one faux handbag.

Three hours later, back at home, I tossed my clothes and the pillowcase into the washer and myself into the shower. I used an alcohol wipe on Chromebook, Kindle, mouse, phone, Kleenex, keys, pens, zip-lock bag, and hand sanitizer. I trashed the copy paper. I disinfected cane, door knobs, light switches, and bathroom. I dumped driver’s license, insurance cards, and cash into a drawer rarely opened, where they’ll be quarantined until I need them, probably three weeks from today, when I go back for another round of drugs.

Here’s the thing:

It’s like, once upon a time, people took a shower and then went to the doctor.

Now, they take a shower and go to the doctor, and then go home and take a shower.

Everything is upside down. And boring.

#AtoZChallenge 2020: T Is for Time & Temper Fit

 

The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
~ William Shakespeare,
Hamlet,
Act I. scene v.

Today I had a temper fit.

It had been building. In fact, it’s a wonder I didn’t lose my equanimity months ago.

The catalyst: I read a bit of non-faux journalism that suggests certain of the Powers That Be don’t think I’m—how shall I put it?—too big to fail.

And it didn’t set well. Hence the fit.

Let me be clear: It was not a major fit. No yelling, no screeching, no smashing of Waterford or Royal Doulton with Hand-painted Periwinkles.

CBS TV. Public domain.

Lobbing china at the hearth might be therapetic, as Barney Fife used to say, but it also ends with a lot of sweeping and mopping, and, if the S&M aren’t done properly, the tweezing of tiny participles* out of the soles of one’s feet.

I’m more of a venter than a lobber. The disadvantage of venting is that ventees think I’m either (a) complaining (not so, just saying how it is), or (b) wanting them to fix it (not so, just saying how it is).

But today venting seemed appropriate, so I engineered a venting fit. First, I cooled down. Active anger results in tangled thoughts and words. So I centered.

Then I emailed two of my elected representatives, stated my concern, and asked what they think about the issue. Next, I told them what I think and, in measured but no uncertain terms, advised them they’d better agree with me and act accordingly.

I do not expect them to agree or to act accordingly.

I do expect to receive, via email, replies so patronizingly and condescendingly irritating that I’ll be tempted to lob hand-painted periwinkles at the hearth.

But I shall not lob. I shall engineer another venting fit.

I do not expect to set everything right—after all, if Hamlet, who was a lot savvier than I, was unsuccessful at rooting out corruption in government, I doubt my paltry efforts would have much effect.

But I will use my time wisely. I will exercise my Constitutional right of Freedom of Speech.

I will email the Powers That Be.

And if the PTB find those emails patronizing, condescending, and irritating, I’ll have done what I set out to do.

***

*As my great-aunt Vara’s odd-job man used to say.

#AtoZChallenge 2020: Somnia, In & Socks

 

A Facebook friend asks what we’ve accomplished during this week of sheltering in place.

On Sunday, I wore matching socks.

Things have gone downhill since.

Sleep deprivation takes its toll. Reasons are varied and fixes limited. And unpleasant. I don’t mind meditating, but I do mind turning off screens an hour before bedtime so my “overly sensitive” pineal glad isn’t exposed to too much blue light.

I also mind not being able to write at night, which is my most creative time.

I’ll do what I’m supposed to, but I won’t like it.

Last night, dead tired after three wakeful nights, I fell into bed, certain I would immediately pass out. Instead, before Morpheus overtook me, I thought about Donny. He’s a fifteen-year-old boy, lives on a South Texas ranch, and has raised a Brahman bull from an orphan calf. He’s having trouble letting go of his friend, and more trouble avoiding a no-account ranch hand who’s taken a dislike to them both.

Donny is a sweet boy. I’ve known him since I created him four years ago. Our relationship was difficult at times until I backed off and let him figure out how to solve his own problems. But he’s done well. Now it’s my turn.

Consequently, he’s been on my mind a lot lately, and last night when the thought of him floated through, my brain switched on, and the revising began: In the first scene, Donny says this—should he say that instead? Or should he say nothing at all?

And so it went, and so it goes.

Again, night has fallen, and after a day of feeling ratty from lack of sleep, I’ve suddenly revived. I want to write.

I’ve yielded to temptation: The laptop should have been turned off three hours ago, but I’m still writing. I feel better now than I did when I began this post, right after dinner. Chances are when I get to bed, I’ll still be thinking about Donny.

This has to stop. When I don’t get enough sleep at night, I can’t work during the day. I must write.

Donny told me his story, but only I can write it.

***

Image by Wimpie Van Heerden from Pixabay