New Note: I’m pulling this one out of the archives as one of the folks on the list is going through a heart-breaking situation, and it reminded me that the words we share with one another are much more important than the words we don’t…
Original Note: In the last Clam Bake, I had a rather swell time sifting through old comments and cultivating some of the jewels. So, to somewhat continue the trend, with this Clam I’ll be sharing some of my responses to what others have written, both here and on their own sites. Consider this a dozen bits of color in my kaleidoscope. Enjoy.
In response to Marple25Mary:
I’ve already accepted the fact that my memory has reached a critical point of degradation. In my youth, I had a near photographic memory. Now? It’s an Etch-a-Sketch, and somebody keeps shaking it…
In response to Lily:
When I run into these people that are super-confident and have no qualms about anything, I know that most of them have never had to deal with situations where they were forced to feel inferior, inadequate, shameful. On the one hand, it’s nice that they didn’t suffer. On the other hand, they can’t fully relate to me. I would much rather be around people who have tripped and fallen and felt broken, who have their hang-ups, who have experienced the downside and the invalidation. Those are the friends I want, the folks who know of disappointment and solitude and distant longing.
In response to Paula:
And that last bit reminds me of more trivia: One of the nicknames my dad had for me was “Sir Brian”. Apparently. I was perceived as a snobby little tyke. I don’t know why they got that impression, although it might have something to do with the fact that I really didn’t like interacting with most people and would instead go to my room and write stories in my Big Chief tablet…
In response to Fred:
I edit the hell out of my first drafts, but I never throw anything away. (Which means that my laptop is burgeoning with crap.) But despite the manipulation and the afterthoughts, when I’m in the mood and I dig in the archives, I usually find that what I originally thought was what I really meant. It’s just that we walk a fine line between reality and acceptance, and the part of us that seeks validation nudges us toward the softening of edges, and we blur what we are, and the only one who really knows us is that file folder packed with the words that we did not release.
A random Facebook snippet sent to my friend Tiffany. (You may vaguely recognize the name from many of my stories.):
So I waited all day to make a birthday post on your page because I wanted it to be “all that” and you would cherish it forever but nothing was coming to mind and I kept waiting and I was getting really frustrated and then those damn storms rolled in (hate them!) and I lost a few hours of not being creative because I was freaked out that me and Toto would be airborne any second and that’s really just not on my bucket list and then the storms passed and I still didn’t have a good idea and then we watched a little bit of TV (okay, three hours) and then I almost had a moment of inspiration during “iZombie” (which is really cute and clever, you should be DVR’ing it, be there or be square) but I’m old and the memory is no longer stellar and I forgot my idea a few scenes later and then Mom texted me that a tornado apparently played squat tag in Tulsa but they were okay and I felt really bad because I hadn’t even bothered to check on The Fam even though I had been staring at weather radar all day and I could clearly see that the storms extended up through Oklahoma but that’s sort of making it all about me and this is really about you so I eventually got on the Internet, filled with the sudden firm conviction that finding a “16 Candles” parody video would be the perfect digital gift for someone who always has well-applied lips, but I was stunned to learn that there isn’t a decent parody clip for that movie (How can there not be? What is wrong with this world?) which meant that I was completely out of ideas and there would be tears and bitter accusations and then I realized that maybe I should just post the longest run-on sentence in the history of the planet so that by the time you got to the end of it you would be concerned about my mental health (that poor boy is spending TOO much time alone with the cats) and you would sort of forget that I hadn’t been particularly inventive with my words and you might even be relieved that the post was finally over and forgive me for all my sins, which are many, and we all just sigh and move on because, people.
In response to Christi:
I love consignment (and antique) stores as well. There’s the budget aspect, of course, but there’s also the “other life” aspect wherein you not only get an item but you get a history as well, even if you never know that history. You can sense it. My two favorite consignment finds: One, a long, black coat that I bought in Tulsa during my college years. It somehow transformed me from mundane to striking but mysterious leading man from the 1940s (at least in my own mind). I still have that thing, decades later, shoved in the back of a closet. It still smells like promise.
Two, a pair of shoes I ran across in a Goodwill store in… Irving, Texas, maybe? Sometime in the 90s, when I was constantly going to Goodwill stores so it’s a bit of a blur. I found the left shoe first, in one of those “discount” sections where they are basically begging you to pay whatever price just so they can get rid of some of this piled-up, unrelated, unwanted merchandise. It took me a while to find the right shoe, but I finally did, triumphant. (There may have been an uncontrolled squeal.)
The initial allure of this footwear was that the upper part of the shoe was composed of glossy blackness with a metal half-moon covering the toe section, making it look like an inverted tap shoe designed by Salvador Dali. (Love him.) The second erogenous aspect was that the shoes fit me perfectly, meaning there is somebody out there with my EXACT feet, no small feat (ahem). Lastly, the thick rubber sole had the image of a rose cut into it. Which meant that every time I walked through dirt or sand, or splashed through a puddle and then onto dry pavement, I would leave a trail of flowers behind me, however fleetingly. It just made me smile.
Unlike my Raymond Chandler coat, I have no idea what happened to those shoes. I haven’t seen them in years, so I’m assuming that I passed them on at some point, and someone else with feet like me is enjoying a stroll that creates its own garden…
In response to Treese:
All of my stories have a baseline of truth and actuality. I just embellish them with a bit of flair, because that’s the birthright of the Rainbow People and one of the many reasons why Someone decided to sprinkle us on the Earth…
Another random Facebook tidbit:
And in the quiet of the night, when the dawn is distant, you see or read or hear a little thing that once used to be a big thing to you, and you remember why that thing was big once, and still should be, and you hope that in one of your tomorrows you can make the little big again…
In response to Lizzie:
8 siblings? Honey, how did you ever get any kind of individual affirmation in that challenging environment? Then again, due to the short-attention span of my father and his multiple marriages, there was a time when I actually had 10 half-siblings and step-siblings, but that was only for a few short years and legal maneuverings since then have greatly reduced the official total. Now, your mention of farm-life antics has reminded me of many stories buried in my archives, concerning things that involved cows and/or poor decisions about what one should do with those cows. I might have to unleash those tales in the near future. Stay tuned!
In response to Whitechapel Welk:
The truth, once revealed after several rounds of emotional chess, can be quite startling…
In response to Michnavs:
I will freely admit that I have liberated items of personal couture in a number of interesting places. Heat of the moment, you know, nothing intentional or too terribly tawdry, but I end up arriving back home without a few things. There’s a certain boutique hotel in New Orleans that could probably start a small art exhibit…
In response to Claudette:
Wow, Claudette, I don’t even know what to say. Oh, yes I do, who are we kidding? (It’s me!) This post completely made my day, and the week, and probably the month. I won’t go so far as to say that it made my year, because we’re still in the tender young months of such, and there might be another trip to Spain in June that might edge this post out a tiny little bit, but not by much. I am so glad that we’ve gotten to know one another.
This is one of the reasons why I love blogging, the chance to stumble across someone who, sight unseen (relatively speaking), is someone you know right away is a kindred soul. We might have different flavors and experiences and dreams, but there is a definite connection that sparks and kindles, a seed that can be planted, a sapling tree that is eventually strong. So, you water the ground, and you make sure there’s sunlight, and you look forward to the fruit that will grow and the harvests of the future. Thank you, Claudette. Big hugs.
And with that, I think I’ll close my digital scrapbook for now. As a parting gift for scrolling this far, here’s a primitive video concerning the song that inspired the title of this post. This is neither the single or album version of the song, truncated as it is for a TV performance, but it’s fun to watch obscure, pre-MTV videos, especially when the lead singer’s comparatively giant hand is clutching perhaps the tiniest microphone in existence at that time.
Previously published in “Bonnywood Manor”. Minor changes made, including the removal of a shout-out to someone who is no longer with us. But I know he knows how I felt, how many of us felt about him, because of the words we share as we fumble our way towards wherever we’re going…