Let’s set the scene: Here I am tapping away on my laptop, tip tap hunt peck yak yak and then…..Blackout. Everything goes dark and I am left sitting by laptop light. I light a few scented candles and continue my tapping..just in mid tap I hear a muffled guffaw followed by a high-pitched squeal…
I run to the open window and peer out, and what do my wondering eyes find?
Two lone figures in dark hoodies setting the bus stop on fire….well not the bus stop, exactly, but a pile of trash next to the bus stop. They whooped and hollered and pranced around the tiny fire, feeding it bits of trash to keep it going in the dark breeze. I had to laugh as one of them started to do a little dance.
This is the kind of incident typical of my crazy neighborhood, during a blackout, really anytime. I enjoy these times as best I can and I try to see the lighter side of whatever life throws my way. This time it is two ghouls with a fire.
Soon I grow restless and decide to drum up some of my own fun in the dark…I retreat to the backyard and into the garden. I find comfort here in the dark, in the garden at night.
The moon is full and bright tonight. It hangs high above me. Ripples and streams of of indigo clouds drift past. I take a deep breath and drink it all in….
The screams of the ghouls have died away and are replaced with nothing. A silence that is totally remarkable in its unremarkableness. I savor this silence. My mind starts to wander as I drift through the tall cool grass.
And it makes me wonder…As a Led Zep tune fills the night air. How fleeting silence can be..it was then the rain came on and picked up like a riot. I stood under it and just soaked it up..A fool in the rain. I stood there a few minutes more, at first feeling quite proud of my new-found “eccentricity” and then as the soaking continued I really started feeling the fool. I sloshed inside before anyone could notice…
My thoughts returned to my two “friends” the hooded ghouls and their what became of their little fire. I smiled as I thought of the cloudburst raining on their parade. I looked out the window once more and found that the ghouls were long gone, just a pile of wet debris left behind told the tale.
Just as well..One fool in the rain is enough, add to ghouls and now there’s three fools in the rain….and how was your night?
Here I am sitting at this cheap plastic ash ridden table in front of my local chain supermarket. I am writing in one of my famous spiral notebooks and drinking a grande black coffee while people watching. This is, believe it or not, the perfect place for such an endeavor.
This is not my usual hangout, nor is it likely I will return. I’m growing fond of going to such strange but typical places to write. At these places I can soak up the atmosphere and get a taste of a new perspective I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
All sorts of people have been passing through the double doors to my right; a cross-section of humankind. We are all different but we have much in common, like our need for food, and food shopping and how this damn economy is screwing us.
..and as a certain Mr. Dylan said…”..the times they are a-changin’…”
They see it, I see it. It’s all around. It’s the sign of the times and the signs are showing…more trash in the streets and buildings and streets in disrepair, the forlorn empty businesses, the foreclosed homes…..the homeless. The face of homelessness is changing in our country.
Before this economic doom and gloom, the homeless were usually people with severe emotional problems such as mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse. Now there are families under the proverbial bridge, children, elderly. People like you and I. It seems wave after wave of hardships hit the beach. All you can do is hang on and hope for the best.
I see the signs of high unemployment in the streets, in the parks, the railway station. Everywhere. Groups of young men in their twenties roaming around with backpacks and bedrolls. They are short on opportunity and short on money, everything but time.
I see people with suitcases, your average American, huddled in corners with looks of bewilderment. Some fall asleep sitting up at bus stops, all their belongings held tight against them, sheltering them from the chill night air.
This is the new face of homelessness.
I see them, all these poor people trying to blend in, trying to not look homeless. And what about the people two steps away from it?
I could easily be one of them and it scares the hell out of me.
I intended this post to be a rant type post because when I started writing it, I was mad as hell. Angry with our government, with corporate greed and just plain old-fashioned human stupidity. I still am just as angry, but now upon reflection, I find that I am more afraid than anything else.
Afraid of what the future may bring, afraid of the dark unknown. I think many people are afraid of the same things and this economy and the state of this crazy world have people white-knuckled terrified.
We were all brought up on tales of “The Great Depression.” Pictures of Dust-bowl Oakies with dirty faces and vacant stares haunt the pages of old schoolbooks in my memory. We were taught to fear depressions, recessions and bank collapses…..
….It’s the sign of the times and here we are again and how it can ever get back to “normal” is beyond me.
..so for now I’ll sit awhile and enjoy my coffee. Then appreciate the hell out of everything I can and hold on for dear life.
There is a certain magic in this time of year. A wild little whimsy of hope and a tinge of excitement at what adventure the future may bring. There is a crispness in the air that is fresh and clean and fills me with inspiration. To me, Autumn signals a new start, a fresh beginning. It’s the time to wake up from the haze and laze of summer.
The dappled sunlight of the dewy morning dances and delights on the amber trees. The sky is a deep blue and the clouds are soft and cool. I sit quietly under the laurel tree and watch the flourish of life before me.
The very soil itself teems with life, down to the very microscopic. A seemingly endless variety of insects, crawlers and walkers and flyers. White butterflies cavort among the Asters. Attracted by the pineapple sage in the corner, Ruby throated Hummingbirds dart in and out. The crows atop the Jack pine stare down in defiance and call to me. I laugh at them and continue on my way.
The cats follow me around as I do the watering. Soon the rains will come and this chore will become a distant memory; something I complain about now but I will miss come January.
The enormous sugar maple in the distance wears the first few signs of the season. There is a richness that runs through this time of the year. Like a deep and vibrant jewel. I hold it up to the light and its exquisite beauty stuns me.
This is one of my favorite times of the year and its easy to see why. I breathe in the moment and plan to hold it forever…
Ever since I was a young child that could grip a pencil, I wrote; scraps and pieces and this and that. For the most of the last decade, I have not had much time to write. I was too busy being a mom, but now as my kids grow older, I have more time to pursue my dream of being a writer.
I believe the time is right for me, I am old enough to have built a library of experiences, wise enough to use them and young enough to be able to use them.
I believe in the power of words and the power of words to change the world. The world is a big place but there are a lot of words. Words can unite people. A well-crafted story can take the reader on a journey they couldn’t have gone on otherwise. I myself have lived many lives through the eyes of another by reading a good book or story…or a good blog.
Just last night I visited the blog of an individual who was not only a talented writer but someone who had a story to tell of a life that I am not well versed in. Through the words of that person I got a small glimpse into a life I wouldn’t have known. A unique view. I came away feeling enriched and inspired.
I was inspired enough to ask myself “Why am writing, what is my message?” There is no denying that I am compelled to write and now that I am doing it regularly, I feel uneasy and unsettled when I don’t. Writing has become a part of me that I cannot live without. It is the air that I breathe and it has taken my soul.
I can pour my thoughts out on paper in a way I never could by just speaking. The more I write, the easier it comes and the more I can produce at a given time.
I am a private and solitary person. I suffer from some social phobias and generally I have found much difficulty in communicating orally. The written word gives me an outlet to the outside world.
I want to someday inspire others with my words, inspire the good to be great and the bad to be better… perhaps save the world a bit here or there.. a tiny bit of it or myself, anyway. The world is a big place and I am but one person… I do dream. It may be stupid and it may be futile, but it is better to dream than to not to. So…here I am dreaming and writing away….And wishing you a…
Three years ago this October I learned something about myself that profoundly changed my life. It came as a complete surprise, although looking back now I suppose it shouldn’t have.
I received a call from my daughters teacher, she told me that she’d like to set up a meeting with the school psychologist to evaluate my daughter for Asperger Syndrome. I had heard of it before but I never associated my daughter with anything like that. Sure, she’s quirky and sensitive and a bit shy and uncoordinated. She got those traits from me and I don’t have Asperger’s…..?
A question was planted in my brain. If I am interested in something I will learn everything I can about it, as fast as I can. I have been accused of doing something until I exhaust it to death. This new bit of information had me reading up a storm, the more I read the more it became obvious. My daughter was definitely going to be diagnosed with Asperger’s, I knew that for sure because by then I knew we both are soaking in it.
This left me with mixed feelings, as a mother, it’s hard to hear someone tell you that your child isn’t perfect and it’s doubly hard on my heart to know that my daughter now knew that the school thought something was wrong with her.
The other part of me, the one that belongs solely to me was elated with relief and joy. I cannot describe fully how I felt. All my life I had lived in the shadows, trying to blend in with the crowd; into the background. I couldn’t let anyone know my secret. That I was different from everyone. So misunderstood. Everyone seemed to know what to say, how to act, what to do. I never knew what to say to anyone.
As child I liked to pretend that in reality I was an alien and that “my people” would be returning for me soon. I am blessed with a rich imagination and that helped somewhat but no matter where I went, I was alone, even in a room full of people, I was alone. The more people, the more isolated I felt.
I carried this around for many years. It effected my entire life. I was crippled inside, I believed my imperfections were weakness and entirely my fault. I hated myself and many times I wanted to die. I called myself “lame” and I believed it. I got into drugs and alcohol, my life hit a downward spiral. This continued for years….
Fate lent me a hand in giving me my two wonderful children. They literally saved my life. I had a reason to live, they needed me and they needed me to be strong for them. I began the uphill climb.
I kept pushing myself out of my comfort zone, past my boundaries. It hurts to grow and sometimes I would fall. But I always got back up. Slowly and surely I became more. It wasn’t enough though. No matter how normal I looked on the outside. No matter how together I looked, I was still as alone as ever.
As silly as this sounds; a part of me was afraid that they’d say she wasn’t Aspergers after all, but they confirmed our suspicions. My daughter was officially diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and began to receive help.
This last July I stumbled upon a website. It is a forum for people with Aspergers to communicate with others who understand.
That is where Strawberryindigo was born.
I obsessed myself with that website and the other people there. It was tonic for the soul to know others, many others felt the same or similar to me. I finally felt understood by those who were misunderstood themselves. And I found that sort can be the most understanding and accepting of all. I feel that people on the spectrum have unique talents and abilities. I believe we Aspies are a special breed with a lot to share with the world, we just need a few of us to speak up for the rest.
This peer therapy was truly was shot in the arm. My family started to notice a change happening in me. I became happier, almost cheerful. I poured out my heart to these strangers. The more I did this the better I felt. I began to use the blog feature there. It’s very simple compared to this one but it is there I learned my salvation…
..Writing. I found that it brings out the best in me. All my life I have kept all this in, I have kept myself hidden in the shadows. My dream has always been to be a writer but I had this fear of others reading what I wrote and judging for it and maybe even hating me. I have always felt that I had something to say but I’ve been afraid of saying it. I’ve been afraid of everything!
Now, Here I am. I little shaken but intact and improving and getting stronger everyday. I owe it to that website and those people. I really believe that peer therapy works. I also believe in the cause to help others with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger Syndrome.
Dear Computer: I hate you! You have screwed with me all day and I’m not going to take anymore! I am not in the least bit technical and frankly, I don’t want to be.. I don’t understand machines, they are foreign to me. This is not the best thing in this techno crazy world and believe me, I try…but sometimes I think I’m cursed. Today I really think I was cursed.
My computer started acting up from the get go this morning. I was in a fine writing mood and that was changed by my ignorance of technology and my computer being the spawn of the devil. Seriously, I am ashamed to say that my computer is an ancient relic that’s 10 years old!…gasp. I think its tired of me and I am tired of it.
After suffering an anxiety attack for a few minutes, I decided that action was necessary and M.M. and I took ourselves down the road in search of a new computer.
Initially we went to the land of cheap goods and cheap labor where the poor can shop for entertainment, or as I call it: Wal-Mart. It should have occurred to me as we walked in the door and smelled onions that maybe this wasn’t the place to get electronics, but hey, I’m ignorant in such matters plus I needed to get some cheap socks.
We found a cheap laptop, then we found another and decided what the hell, let’s get two. We are like that, M.M. and I. Together we create a third personality that’s three times as nutty as one of us alone. Fortunately this third person has stellar credit so we had no problem with cash flow. No, it was Wal-Mart, Their machine was down, couldn’t process the credit application. We tried four times and left in disgust.
I did get the socks and some free milk duds they gave us as I consolation prize, I don’t like milk duds, they’ll suck out your fillings if you’re not careful.
We drove down one the ugliest streets in town, saw a dead man on the sidewalk (I’m not kidding) The cops were there and I saw him, his face, the guy looked dead, I mean its something that you just know when you see it. It’s also an image I won’t forget….And so I tried to…And then
The two gang members on the corner who started to yell on us helped me forget the poor dead man. They didn’t like the way M.M. was driving and expressed themselves rather loudly. We turned and I flipped them the bird…And then the sun broke through the clouds…We made it.
We made it to an office type store full of bright shiny colorful office stuff or as I call it: Office Depot. We went straight to the laptops, determined as ever. We found two cute white ones, They’re twins! We had to bring them home right away. We signed the adoption papers with no problem, the paperwork sailed right through and before we knew it, we were back home with two shiny new laptops. Wow! I should have been excited but somehow our victory tasted bittersweet.
If I learned anything from my “adventure” today, maybe it was that in this country, the key to happiness is the availability of cheap goods and excellent credit. Or really, if I think down deep with my heart maybe I’ll realise that all of that “happiness” really doesn’t mean a damn when you are dead old man alone and unloved by the side of the road.
Aesop once said the worth of money is not in its possession, but in its use. I can think of no one person who exemplifies that idea more than Warren Buffett. Some call him “The Oracle from Omaha.”, I call him inspiring.
I had already thought the world of Mr. Buffett before his recent actions, not only for his investment and business prowess, his uncommon common sense and his personality, (Hey,the guy’s cool to me) all of which I have to say that I admire greatly.
It is his record of philanthropy that I admire the most. It is the reason why he is one of my heroes. His pledge to donate almost his entire fortune to the good of others and his devotion to get billionaires like him to do the same is simply put; inspiring.
It is that attitude that can inspire us all, rich, poor and in between to give some of ourselves to help others. It doesn’t have to be money, although that would help. It could be your time, the most valuable thing of all. It could be your expertise, or advice. Maybe it could be a kind word to a stranger who really needs it at the time.
This is what real magic is made of. Love and care for our fellow human beings. It gets around and believe me it comes back to you triple fold. It’s up to everyone to see how they can help. We all have our individual talents and ways of contributing. I am not a financial titan like Warren Buffett, but my dream is to help in some way through my writing.
We as a country, actually we as a planet are facing unprecedented social,economic and environmental turmoil and this divided attitude we humans possess could spell much trouble down the road. We can all do our part.
..And so I am supposed to be writing short stories, Trippy profound little gems with twists and turns that would set the world on fire. I given myself the summer to write these stories. I’ve written one story so far.
I will confess right now that I am a chronic starter. I have a million interests and I’ve started a million projects and rarely finished any. All those tiny pieces of paper come to mind….
I haven’t accomplished much in life by way of a career. I’ve devoted seventeen years of my life to raising two kids, who will be almost grown and now I feel that its time for me to pursue my dreams. All of them.
This scares the hell out of me. I know to follow a dream one must take a chance and get out into the world. I have to stop hiding. And so here I am jumping in. Out of the shadows and into the light.
I thought very long and hard about showing my picture on this blog. It is so unlike me, its unreal. That picture in itself is rare. I’m the kind of person who prefers to be behind the camera, not in front.
To be honest to myself and whoever might read this, I can’t say that I need to stop hiding from life, and hide behind something I am not. It might be a stupid thing to do. I might regret it. I don’t know. But for now the picture of the real me remains for all the poor unfortunates to see who happen to run across it.