To write or not to write, now that is the question. It being Saturday afternoon and Monday morning writing class looming on the horizon, little bits and pieces of quotations are floating thru my mind. It also being the last time we meet until the fall months, there are two ways of looking at writing. Either I can work hard, write splendidly, and go out with a bang, or I can sigh, think, everyone is leaving and so it really doesn’t matter anyhow. I can just look thru my old inventory, so to speak, and skim by with no problem. It wouldn’t be the first time, or the last either, so what’s the big deal?
Actually, this seems to be a pretty good synopsis of our lives, I think. Most of us seem to be a combination of these two pathways in life. Sometime we are going forth gung ho, looking forward on a trail towards success and happiness no matter what we must do to achieve it. And at other times we seem to cross over to the easier trail, taking each day as it comes, accepting whatever comes our way, and thinking, No big deal, anyhow. And there are a lot of reasons for our uncertainty because success and happiness usually takes a lot longer to accomplish than we want it to. Particularly since patience is a quality that I myself find hard to find all too often.
At some time in our lives most of us learn the word acceptance for ourselves at least, and forget that once we were the younger go getters, intent on making our way in the world. We marvel at the younger generations and how busy they are, how intent upon making their path successfully and forget our own past efforts. Each group has to learn their own way, and we can watch them doing it, and remember what it was like to feel pushed.
And we can help them in the small everyday ways by showing our encouragement and love for them and their efforts. For me, writing seems to be the way for me to remind them that we all are on the path, in different positions to be sure, but with the same goals of happiness and success for them and their families.
Thinking about a new word today – inspiration. A long word for a sizable subject, you might say.
To inspire is to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially something creative.
Most of us can look back at our own lives and find someone or something that inspired us in a positive way. In the early years it may have been a parent or a special teacher in our grade schools.
As we grew up our horizons became broadened. We listened to speeches or we read books that were very significant to us. We had special authors that inspired us to look at many new and unknown subjects. It might have been a musician or a sports figure that we followed their every word. We wanted to be just like they were, or maybe even better.
I submit to you that as adults, and also as creative writers we all have the ability to inspire the generations coming up behind us. We have the innate ability to show them that each of them is capable of bringing joy into their lives by the way they choose to live, and the choices that they make. We know that what we put into our minds will be reflected all around us and it is up to us to inspire our families and friends by living a life that they will wish to emulate.
Words, either written or spoken can inspire others and we want only the best for the people who listen to us or read our words. So it is our pleasure to remember that someday we may be the ones that are the inspiration for young lives just as our heroes and heroines were for us. It is an awesome responsibility, and one we shouldn’t take too lightly.
“Put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon,
All I want is loving you, and music, music, music!”
These are the words that popped into my mind when I started thinking about writing an article about music! This song, written by Stephen Weiss and Bernie Baum in 1949, was very popular when I was growing up. Teresa Brewer put out the biggest version of it in 1950. At that time, whenever one singer got a big hit, every other singer followed it up with their own special version. The minute I would hear it on the radio I would start singing right along with it. Teresa was at the top of the charts for many years with her bouncy style of music. She was a very small girl, but filled with energy and people loved her.
In my teens there was hardly ever a time when I didn’t have the radio or my phonograph turned on. The first thing I bought with my library job was a 3 speed record player and it cost $60. Since I was making 60 cents an hour you can see that I really felt it was worth it for me to have my own music. As the years went by I acquired quite a few long playing 33 speed albums.
Singing in our church choir for many years, taking piano lessons for seven years, listening to the radio constantly, my life has always been filled with music. Now my laptop and my Ipad are filled with it. As I type here I am listening to Elton John singing “My Song”.
My Aunt Donnie played the piano beautifully and I wanted to be as accomplished as she was. For a long time I just played the piano by using my fingers and pretending on our kitchen table. My dad found a way to buy an old upright piano for $25, and then my mother figured out a way to pay for lessons for me at $1.00 a week. She gave up things that she needed so that I could have the lessons for a long time. Alas, tho I loved playing and practiced diligently, I never acquired the skill that my aunt had all of her life. My cousin, Carolyn played by ear, beautifully, which means she didn’t even need to see the notes, and I really envied that.
It is amazing how the words, music, music, bring back all of the memories of my life and how much of a part they played in it. Music, books, writing, the Internet, all have formed me into becoming the person that I am today. In our house my mother played mostly show tunes from Broadway, so I became a great fan of people like George Gershwin, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Classical music also filled the air, mostly because my piano teacher gave me assignments of symphonies. And in later years I became an avid rock fan, and still to this day I play all of the greats of the 80s and 90s.
So I guess that I am a product of all of the years spent listening to radio and tv in all of its forms, and it has been a great pleasure for me. Many of the major events in my life can be brought back just by listening to a particular song, like “Rainy Days and Mondays” by the Carpenters.
We all seem to feel a special closeness to the singers who sang the songs that we have loved for a long time. When we hear of the untimely death of one of them, it is like a big chunk has been taken out of our lives. We smile thru the tears as we remember what it was like when we listened to them at a special time in our life. And we thank all of the songwriters who expressed our feelings so well as we listened to their music.
Thanks to the friend who suggested using Music as a subject to write about in our group. The words just came bubbling up like Teresa Brewer, Music, Music, Music. We owe a debt of gratitude to the ones who make us sing, or cry or smile as we remember. Music, one of the greatest pleasures in life.
Early this morning I had a dream. Not just an ordinary dream, destined to enter my sleep, erupt my thought patterns and leave just as swiftly as it had come.
No, this was a full-fledged dream, and as I awoke, I remembered the warmth and the glorious feeling of it all surrounding me in my warm bed. You see, in my dream I had a brand new baby, she was mine, and I held her and felt the incredible miracle of how a brand new baby feels, the cuddling and the softness of her skin, and the delight of being a mother. I marveled at how big she was and remembered that all of my babies, all boys, had been so big. But this was a girl and I was overcome with joy! I realized that we must give her a name and at first I thought of Elizabeth, my favorite name as a teenager. But then I thought of my mother, and the name became Leona, in my mind. My mothers middle name had been Leone. That was it. I hugged her and said “my sweet Leona”, and knew the joy of being a parent again as I held her and caressed her. I felt the certainty of it all and never realized I was dreaming.
But then I began to wake up. Remembering how vivid this experience had been to me, I began to wonder. Was it a dream or was it an experience? As I sit right here writing I can still know that something amazing happened to me, and in my mind I can still feel and see it. Who is to say what really happened? I know that dreams usually fade away, but I also know that writing this down will keep it fresh in my memory. In this strange and mysterious world of ours how are we to know what is real and what is imaginary? Years from now the scientists may tell us for sure that dreams fortell our experiences, either past or future. Maybe I was remembering an event of long ago in another lifetime.
What triggers a dream? Could it be all of the pictures of babies I see every day on Facebook, being held by granddaughters or grandsons or nieces? I don’t know.
All I know is, it felt so vivid and so real that now I know I must keep watch wherever I go in my daily life. Maybe this warm and beautiful little girl exists somewhere watching over us and I was lucky enough to hold her in my arms for a little while. But I will be sure to remember my sweet Leona, wherever she may be.
Sometimes we have to smile at our memories, be thankful that we had our friends as long as we did, and look for the words that express how we feel about them. Verna Thornton was probably the first friend that I made after I moved to Florida and discovered the Creative Writers Club at Betmar Acres. One of the original founders, she was an enthusiastic member that almost always showed up on Monday morning. As our facilitator she guided us in our writing, suggesting many subjects that she felt we would be interested in. As a poet, she excelled, and she and I felt a kinship from the very first time that I went. I was so impressed by the way her words could always make me see a picture in my mind. She just had a way with descriptive words that could make you laugh or cry or remember something in your own life.
Verna has gone on beyond us this week. She hadn’t been well after a bad fall a month ago, and we had missed her at our group meetings. I talked to her a few days ago and she was very determined to get better so that she could attend again in November. She lived alone, after having taken care of an ailing husband for many years. When I got the phone call I was shocked because I hadn’t expected it.
I found this poem written by Verna in our annual book put out by our group this spring, and am printing it to show you how she felt about moving on from us.
I was just a little child
And watched the pansies die.
Grandma tried to comfort me
As I began to cry.
Then she sat me on her lap.
She hugged me close and said,
“Pansies droop and petals fall,
But they’re not really dead.
Notice how the butterflies
Have colors bright and gay.
They are wilted pansies, dear,
The ones that got away.”
Now, my pansy bed is filled
With deep exotic hues,
Yellow, purple, rust and bronze,
Mahogany and blues.
Vibrant colors, trimmed with black,
Their scent is everywhere,
Sunshine yellow on them all,
Their fragrance fills the air.
Rippled by the summer breeze,
They’re nodding in the sun,
A dark and somber little face
Peers out from every one.
Wistfully, they try to speak,
And each one seems to say,
“How much longer will it be
Before I fly away?
I’m bound to earth by stem and roots
My days are passing by.
How much longer must I wait
To be a butterfly?”
Today our Verna is a beautiful, shining butterfly, so watch for her wherever you go.
For the past few days the song “You’re My Inspiration” by the group “Chicago” has been drumming thru my mind because the subject for our Creative Writers Class has been “Inspiration.” I thought of my own mother and how she never gave up but conquered throughout her life, living a very productive and successful one. I thought of many other figures that I knew that did the same.
But eventually I came to the conclusion that I have the perfect example right here in our own group of writers.
To my own knowledge, we have had almost all of the major adversities in life in the past four years since I first joined. Many of us have been widowed after long and successful marriages, and others have had and still do have to cope with serious illnesses. Still others have had deaths or divorces in their past experiences. Yet never have I felt anything other than admiration for the way our members have risen up, and helped others get thru their own difficulties. We are all growing older and looking out for each other and that is a wonderful thing.
So Creative Writers, I salute you! You are my Inspiration, and I am so thankful that you are in my life. As members of this group, you are providing a great happiness for us all. Viva la, Writers!
Is it possible I’ve run out of words?
Can it be that there is nothing left?
Nothing to talk about
Nothing to write about
A perfectly blank mind,
Thought it could never really happen to me!
I look around the world about me
There must be something that arouses my soul,
Something that angers me or disgusts me,
Something that disturbs me,
Something that makes me smile.
Something that stirs the blood.
How did I ever get to this place?
Where did all of the thoughts go?
I pick up my pen
I stare at my paper,
I think about writers block.
Now there is a subject I ought to be able to write about.
Lo! Something has entered my mind.