Ten Years Later

She stood on the tiny balcony and clutched a cup of coffee in her hand. She listened to the early morning traffic go by and watched the sky go from dark to light gray. Shivering, she clutched the shawl closer to her.

“Why aren’t you wearing a sweatshirt?” demanded a voice. He came up behind her and blew hot air onto her neck. She leaned back and closed her eyes, nuzzling into his embrace as his arms circled her waist.

“The cold feels nice,” she murmured. She felt him grin behind her. He’d always loved the cold. Opening her eyes, a thought that had been tugging at her mind shaped itself on her lips. “What are we doing here?”

“Living the dream,” he said, raising his eyebrows. They both laughed. Corny phrases were so fun to use when there was no risk of being taken seriously. “Are you regretting it or something?” he asked, worried. His self-esteem, usually substantial enough not to need to ask questions like this, wavered.

“I’m ecstatic,” she answered, turning to him. “Let’s go unpack.”

“Ungh,” he moaned. “Do we have to? I can live out of the suitcases for a while…”

“Yes, we have to,” she laughed, slapping his midriff playfully. “And later we’ll take a walk to the bank to open the account, and we’ll get some more groceries.”

“Fine, fine, fine,” he huffed playfully. As she bent over a box and began ripping at it energetically, he sighed and thought of where he’d been ten years earlier. He hadn’t been happy then, but all had come well in the end.

____OR_____

She sat on the lanai. The sun was shining brightly and the temperature was perfect. Some might say it was boring, always so perfect, but she loved it. The laptop on her knees was small, comfy and full of prose – just the way she liked it. She spread her fingers, getting ready to take that incredibly exhilarating plunge and actually start writing when she froze. A hummingbird, beautifully colored and almost shining in the sunlight, was only a foot away, hovering next to the big flowerpot that she referred to as her “pet.”

Hands still hovering in the air, much like the tiny bird, she watched, mesmerized, scared to take the slightest move and scare the thing away. A blast of music came up suddenly from the cellphone beside her, and both she and the hummingbird jumped. “Oh, birdie, come back!” she called under her breath as she picked the phone up. The bird took no notice. Looking at the screen as she flicked the phone open, she smiled.

“Hey, you,” she said. “You scared away a hummingbird. It was right next to me.” She waited, listened, and laughed. “That’s so like you,” she grinned to herself. “How’s the Missus? And the kid?” She smiled softly as the deep voice on the other end spoke. “I’m so glad,” she said warmly. “Listen, I’m just about to start writing. Can I call you this evening? Mhm. Mhm. Sure. Okay, talk to you then. Love you, bee-eff-eff,” she added cheekily. “Bye now!”

She clicked off, and watched her flourishing garden. She thought about where she’d been ten years ago. She was glad that things had come well in the end.

____OR_____

He was in Brazil, and she in Tasmania.

____OR_____

Both fictional characters never were, had never been, would never be.

 

Pity Party Poetry

Would you say a pity party

Is exactly what you need?

Pity parties are always on,

Always around, you know.

Pity parties can be a damn good time

If you know when to flow

But also when to go.

Pity parties can be flashy,

Full of drama and tears and moans.

But pity parties can be quiet, too,

Self-contained, strangled, alone.

Pity parties are partly parties

Perhaps because they’re pretty?

But no, that’s wrong, they’re pity parties,

Not some dance-a-roo.

Although, who knows?

Some may be. Maybe some people dance.

Maybe they dance and pity around,

Like doing the Hokey-Pokey.

They put their common sense in,

They take the sadness out,

They keep the sadness with them then,

And that’s what it’s all about.

Right?

Journaling?

My mom recently bought me a set of navy-blue Moleskine notebooks that I just couldn’t resist. They’re beautiful, and that’s exactly where the problem lies. I always feel my handwriting is inferior, and as I have an intense stationary/notebook/pen fetish, I’m always scared of ruining my pretty notebooks with my handwriting.

So here’s my plan. I’ll use one of the notebooks to write some favorite quotations in. I always find certain phrases in books that I absolutely love and then I never write them down as I should. So I’ll use a notebook to finally do this properly.

One notebook will be put aside for some other idea if I have one.

The third and final notebook is destined (maybe) to become a journal. Not a “Dear Diary” journal in which I write about my day, but rather a journal in which I answer a certain prompt or question and explore my memories or opinions about things. I was thinking of then posting photographs of the pages on here and expose you all to my handwriting! This is where I need advice, though. Do any of you know any journaling project where you get a prompt once a week or once a day or something? Does anyone want to start a journaling group? Or should I just take prompts from one of the various journaling websites and commit to writing one or two prompts a week?

Hmm.

Good

What does it mean to be good? Does it mean being kind? If so, is the kindness restricted to actions, or must it extend to your thoughts as well?

What does it mean to be good? Is it something inbred, a trait that you’re born with? Is it something you learn? Is it something that seeps into you from your environment? Is it something that you can seek out and acquire?

What does it mean to be good? Does it mean being what others expect goodness to be, or striving for your own sense of it? Is it being good for goodness’ sake, or being good for a cause?

What does it mean to be good? Do some of us just have it while others lack it completely? Are there degrees to it? Can someone be a little bit good or almost no good at all or full of goodness that shines out of them like a beacon?

What does it mean to be good?

Maybe, more importantly, are the reasons for being good. The reasons for wanting to be good. As to those, I guess they’re just as individual as goodness itself is.

Objects’ Spirit

I often wonder whether or not inanimate objects have spirits of their own. Oh, I know it sounds absolutely crazy, but stay with me for a moment.

Haven’t you ever felt close to something that was just… well, a thing? A favorite mug, perhaps, or a painting that moved you. Maybe a childhood toy or stuffed-animal or a piece of jewelry or even the first car that you called your own. Of course, stuff is just stuff. We all know this. There’s no argument that if we had to choose between saving our friends and family from a fire or saving our things, we would choose the people in our lives over the mere objects that we’ve accumulated.

And yet, I always feel that the mere act of possessing something and appreciating it instills a kind of life in it. I find myself talking to my computer at times – sometimes aloud, sometimes only in my head. I know that I could never get rid of Beary-Bear or Twinkle, my favorite teddy-bears. I know that the bowl in which I pour my Quaker Squares in the morning seems to greet me cheerfully in the mornings when I dip my spoon into it.

What if objects actually did have some sort of life or spirit to them? What if they whispered amongst themselves when we went to sleep, chatting about how we used them during the day; complaining when we were unkind or rough or when they were ignored. What if they appreciated our attention or loathed it? What if our refrigerators were in love with our stoves?

Well, maybe they do have a life of their own. Maybe they do communicate. It would sure explain how when one appliance breaks, everything else seems to follow it in breaking. It would explain why some objects charm us and make us love them while some make us put them way back in the shelf or never buy them in the first place. It would explain that bizarre feeling when we get up to use the toilet at four in the morning and feel as if someone’s just stopped talking when we woke up.

Ah, the things one thinks about at midnight…

A Monarch’s Responsibilities

History is a vast and incomprehensible mystery to me in many ways. We have facts about things that have happened in the past – we have dates, records of events, paintings reproducing the faces involved in those events, poems and diaries devoted to giving opinions and preserving what happened in a biased manner. We have all these things. Mystery, to some people, seems like a wide-open book, its contents there for us to look through, sift for what interests us, and indulge ourselves in knowledge of old.

I don’t feel this way. In my opinion, history is full of so much that we don’t know and so much that I wish I could know. True, we know when Martin Luther began to speak and write about his emotions about being a monk and part of the Catholic Church. In his instance, we can find quite a lot of emotional and sentimental writings from his own pen, or maybe quill, and we can see into his mind, as far as he lets us.

But what about others? What about the farmers and the spinners and the dye-makers that England had in such profusion in the sixteenth century? What were the children running barefoot through the streets of London, so much smaller than it is today, thinking? What games were they playing? What was the man smuggling illegal documents from Europe into the English Empire thinking as he worked? Was he scared for his life or merely waiting to get paid so he could go home to his wife and child? What were the nuns, sequestered in their cloisters, talking about? How did they speak to their young students, and how did they infuse them with a love and a belief for the divine? Through fear? Through love? Through simply offering worship as a fact of life?

And if these so-called simple people’s lives aren’t interesting enough for historians to dwell on – well then, what about the monarchs? How could Henry VIII hold such power in his hands and play with it so lightly at times? What did Katherine of Aragon feel as she was condemned? We can guess, surely, but how can we know? What of Elizabeth? How did she feel when she was sought after for marriage through the years? Did she decide on her own to remain a single ruler in order to maintain a stable throne? Did she, perhaps, not find men pleasing in the manner she would have been expected to? Had she fallen in love with someone who never returned her love or never could?

It’s bad enough, thinking of the power that politicians and governments hold today. At least it’s distributed power, and is more or less given by the people. But monarchs… They were born. Some of them believed they were chosen by divinity to be kings or queens. They held so much power in their cupped hands, that they’d let some of it run through their fingers to those sitting at their feet, just waiting for a pearl or jewel to drop from those mighty hands. I can’t imagine how such responsibility could be held without driving the holder mad with indecision, worry, guilt. Such are the things that the annals of history can’t reveal to us. Thoughts, emotions, private sighs of elation or grief.

Royals and Celebrities

I am currently reading “The Constant Princess” by Philippa Gregory. I also read her book that was made into a movie, “The Other Boleyn Girl” and loved it, which is why, when I was last in a proper bookstore, I picked up a couple more books by her. Her novels are historical fiction, many focusing around the lineage of the Tudor family, one of the more scandalous and dramatic royal lines in England apparently, as there is such an obsession surrounding them – there’s even a mini-series which I’m dying to see called “The Tudors.”

This got me thinking though. First of all, what parts of Gregory’s books are based on actual fact? Oh, who married who and what they named their children is obviously true, but what about the smaller events? I assume there are historical diaries and letters and such from the period that hold gossip and information about what was going on in the royal court, but obviously all the feelings and thoughts of the characters in the book are fictional and speculative. Unless there are diaries of Catalina, Infanta of Spain and eventually Katherine, Queen of England herself then Gregory merely uses her imagination to write her feelings and thoughts over the hardships she endured and ambitions she harbored.

This got me to thinking something else. Look at this fascination so many people, myself included apparently, have with royals, with these celebrities of centuries past. Will people still be fascinated with such celebrities in, say, three hundred years time? Will there be novels written about people like George Bush or will it be novels about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? Or will humanity finally realize that celebrities, whether in power or not, are still just people and stop obsessing over their lives?