Poets Sandburg and Frost never leave my side; Carl is fun and positive and bans all adjectives, while Robert is melancholy and depressed. Whitman sings himself and celebrates himself. Dickinson must have been male…her profundity gives her true gender away – depth disguised inside terse lacy language. Truman Capote, however, reveled in his femininity so thoroughly as to write TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD impersonating Miss Harper Lee. Zelda wrote all of F. Scott’s stuff, and he let her! She burned to a crisp without him near. Dorothy Parker and Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote of hetero– and homo– and candles burning at both ends and boozed themselves to death. Shakespeare was a committee — all of whom duped us with a clever surname. Steinbeck and O’Neill and Wolfe either possessed lady muses or actual ghost writers in the form of mistresses and wives. Some ladies committed suicide as in… Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. Faulkner and Vonnegut soared as loose cannons…true writers. Anna Sewell and Margaret Mitchell cannot be legit! Theories all mine.
I only know what I have gleaned sitting in this same house all of my life…ALL of my lifetime. A modest dwelling built in the Art-Deco/FDR era of 1935, nestled between two other houses which have seen families roll through them far too frequently…the prim and proper elderly with grape arbors, relatively normal families with kids, adulterers, drinkers, dead-beats, renters. The home to the right of me is intermittently vacant, sometimes (re)possessed…the home to the left presently experiences the melt-down of a confused and confusing couple and their darling child. I am losing interest in caring about any of the dramas filling either structure. This entire world approaches or slides toward Hell, in a hand-basket, further and further each day. Why do we fail to realize that this is the only heaven we could possibly ever know? Then when we die, we are forever dead.
My only other house, shuttered and aluminum sided, still stands in that larger town next door several miles away, where I tried to be my own person and avoid my suffocating parents for awhile. Didn’t happen. I am back in my hometown in the same old…house…fighting the same old stereotyping and ignoring the same old gossip. The strapping, brilliant and talented only child I ever carried for nine months moved three hours away to a suburb of a big city, and I envy him. I am as lonely now as the morning I gave birth to him…never so alone in my life as during that winter day. Alone with my decision to opt out of life and to escape into MOMMY-WITH-A-BABY-DOM! Dumb! A selfish move. Abandoned with a tiny infant in my shaking arms, I finally boycotted the televised Miss America Pageant and Bert Parks one nightmarish week-end, pacing nervously awaiting THE MAN WHO GOT AWAY’s return. No more babies — as humorist Robert Benchley wrote, and I am freely paraphrasing, “Got it right the first time.” Judy’s song still ranks as my personal ballad of gritty angst.
Children grow up and move away and suffer and die. Bringing a copy of yourself to life is the ultimate SELF-ish maneuver…always. We all know that, but never speak of it. Over-population is too big and accurate and obvious of a picture. I have never loved and admired another living soul as I do my son. Without him, I would have no other reason to live. Now figure this paragraph out! I dare you!
Coarseness, Hugh Hefner’s “periodical” sexuality, and mores twisted this way and that, I wish I might have lived my entire life without ever knowing. Ah, yes, Tuesday with More(s)! Always perplexed by crassness, ignorant remarks, and shallowness, I retreated instead into reading, music, staying at home, diligently studying, nurturing pets, watching television—especially movies of the late 1930s and 40s, analyzing the peculiar behavior of human beings, accompanying my parents whenever I left home, never dating, baby-sitting my sisters’ kids. I may have been a lesbian…or perhaps, just a person…just a human-being…not identifiable by gender, not locked into a societally-imposed cage, not like everybody else, but very much like anybody else.
Words…ordinary words, I have witnessed taking on derogatory, suggestive meanings…how sad. COME. PUSSY. BOX. QUEER. GAY. WILLY. DICK. MOTHER. … People I have admired and found myself instructed TO idolize disappointed me monumentally once I saw through their facades and became attuned to their motivations, usually aimed at self-aggrandizement. Folks relegated to demeaning verbal characterizations, and shunned by others, emerged far too often as uniquely independent and worthy of kinder evaluations. Cliques formed and dissolved and left scars on the rest of us. Individuals and those who thought their own thoughts enhanced my life…but they were and are few and far between.
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed,” wrote satirist Jonathan Swift. I have been blessed several times over but in a manner seldom comprehended, so generally I keep such information to myself until I meet those with loving hearts, open minds and a genuine desire to share the pieces of life’s puzzle among ourselves. Thus, I shall revisit the soulful revelations of those dear and honest friends mentioned in my first paragraph. By the way, I read today that the Bible is not a book but a library. I like that concept. Evolve!