In tribute to this feative holiday, an Irish lass such as I, am compelled to share a wee bit of the Irish with you…
“IRELAND IS THE LAND OF POETS AND LEGENDS, OF DREAMERS AND REBELS”
Be they kings, or poet, or farmers, they’re a people of great worth. They keep company with the angels. And bring a bit of heaven here to Earth.
Some Guinness was spilled on the barroom floor when the pub was shut for the night. Out of his hole crept a wee brown mouse and stood in the pale moonlight. He lapped up the frothy brew from the floor, then back on his haunches he sat. And all night long you could hear him roar, “Bring on the goddam cat!”
“THERE ARE ONLY TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, THE IRISH AND THOSE WHO WISH THEY WERE.”
I am starting a new monthly feature similar to Fresh Quotes. I will be publishing this right in the middle of each month and I thought The Ides of March would be the perfect time to introduce it. I am calling it A Colorful Person for now. If I come up with a better name, which I hope I will, I will change it. Ideas anyone? Every month I will feature a different person. Someone who has made the world a bit more colorful. Someone who I personally admire. Some of these people will be quite obvious, others not so much. Every one of them will be people who have shaped my thinking and helped make me the me I am today. (So you’ll know who to blame. haha)
This month’s Colorful Person is Andy Rooney; the cranky old guy who was a fixture on the TV show 60 Minutes for what seemed like 60 years. He passed away at the end of 2011 at the ripe old age of 92 and I miss him terribly especially on Sunday evenings.
He was at heart a writer who said what he meant and he meant what he said. I started watching his stories on 60 minutes as a child and I continued watching until his last in October of 2011. He was an influence on me as a writer and as a person. He was the cranky Grandfather I never had. He had tons of common sense and I’d like to share some of his plain talk wisdom with you today.
…..and so, Here’s Andy…
“If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one.”
“I’ve learned …. That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.”
“People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe.”
“I’ve learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.”
“Did you ever hear one of those corny, positive messages on someone’s answering machine? ‘Hi, it’s a great day and I’m out enjoying it right now. I hope you are too. The thought for the day is share the love. Beep.’ ‘Uh, yeah, this is the VD clinic… speaking of being positive, your test is back. Stop sharing the love.” ♦
“Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”, here’s an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!”
“The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.”
“Writers don’t often say anything that readers don’t already know, unless its a news story. A writer’s greatest pleasure is revealing to people things they knew but did not know they knew. Or did not realize everyone else knew, too. This produces a warm sense of fellow feeling and is the best a writer can do.”
*All of the above quotes are credited to Andy Rooney
Andy Rooney was born on January 14, 1919, in Albany, New York. During WWII, he wrote for the Army’s Stars and Stripes newspaper and was one of the first American journalists to visit and write about the German concentration camps. Rooney joined the staff of CBS’ 60 Minutes in 1968 and began his iconic “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney” segment in 1978. Rooney’s final 60 Minutes essay aired in October, 2011. He died a month later at age 92.
“Life isn’t finding shelter in the storm. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” ~Sherrilyn Kenyon
Hope awaits in the wings. It can be quiet and slow. Whatever unexpected thing that fate has in store for you will show itself in its own time. These things cannot be rushed. I know, I’ve tried. The trick is to be patient and keep busy and always, no matter how many time you fall flat on your face or how many times the cruel wind pushes you down, you must get up. Despite the taunts, the jeers, the doubts and the fears that may pop up in your mind, you must pull yourself up and face that cruel wind with a smirk, a smile, and a fight in your heart.
Sometimes life can be a vast ocean and we are only small vessels traversing through its choppy waters. You say to yourself: I am drowning and I can’t go on–I can’t take it anymore. The seas are too rough and too great and I am so small. You can see the stormy skies and you wonder how you can possibly hold on. You can hold on! Perseverance is holding on when you think you are about to let go…hold on for a minute more. Sometimes that’s all it takes, just a minute more and dawn will break. The ocean will be still and the sun will shine upon it and the world will be a glittering jewel once again.
Sometimes help comes in the most unexpected of places, in the strangest of forms. It is help nonetheless. Never give up, never stop trying. Hope can come in starts and fits. Hope can be a light at the end of a very long tunnel, a light so dim that you cannot see it but it is there. Keep moving, don’t stop dreaming. Keep going forward even if you have to crawl because the light is there, I promise you. I can see it and it burns as bright as the sun.
You are not alone in the dark. We are never truly alone. Reach out into the darkness and hope will be there lighting the way…You must believe in hope….because it believes in you.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” ~ Douglas Adams
The other night I was talking with my son. He has just turned 18 and is thinking about what he wants to do with his life. He conveyed to me his doubts and fears; his concerns about how the world is. He told me he sees us humans as parasites and he voiced his concerns about how we are treating our planet and each other.
I listened and kept silent. I thought how much he sounded like myself in the past. A past not so long ago. These were things I thought before I decided to have children It was a choice I considered very carefully. There was a voice in my head that said; how dare I bring another person into this crowded planet? Who was I add another hungry mouth into this already hungry world.
Another side of me: The hopeful part, the ones with dreams, the one that believes in belief, said that it wasn’t up to me to decide. Who was I to discard a potential human life…even and especially, the life of my possible child.? Who was I to deny life to anyone? Who made me judge, jury and executioner? If this potential child only had a few years of life…even one year, one month, one second…who was I to deny that?
Who was I to deny his beautiful blue eyes just one sunset, one hug or one tip toe through the tulips. Perhaps this child would contribute to the world…perhaps in a way I’d never imagine; maybe this child would be needed. I thought all of this at the time, almost 20 years ago and all those thoughts and feelings came flooding back to me as I heard the words of my son. I understood his feelings exactly; he is an intelligent and thoughtful young man and he made some very valid points.
I saw the look of defeat in his eyes and a bit of anger too. I know that anger all too well. The world had already been “screwed up” before either one of us got here. It’s easy to feel hopeless and angry. I listened carefully to everything he had to say and then it was my turn…
Lately in my life I have found just the right thing to say but I don’t know actually what it will be until it comes out. This is quite new and I think it is all the writing I’ve been doing and I was very grateful for that because I found myself explaining to him much of what I just mentioned,about how I had thought carefully before deciding to have him and I told him how glad I am that he is here now.
I told him I agreed that the world is going to hell and how we’ve fouled up our seas and skies and land, and how all we humans seem to see is our differences…and how much we fight each other. I also told him how much hope I have for the future and how I believe that we have it in us to make this all right, and how we as a society can change things and how it all starts with one.
I told him how it starts with little changes and how it was up to him to be that change. It is up to him to make a difference in his little corner of the world. To find something near and dear to him and make a difference. I told him that I thought my writing was like that and if enough people make a small difference…how that could grow and spread.
I talked and talked; a lot I don’t remember, but I kept talking and as I did I saw the light in his eyes begin to brighten. He was listening and I could sense the lights turning on in his brain.
Then it was my turn again to listen: He told me of his interest in nature and teaching children about nature and sharing his love of it. He told me of his plans and as he did I could see his burden lifting and my heart soared as the corners of his mouth began to curl up into a wide smile.
I’ve never have been prouder of him as I was at that moment… it was very much like the moment when I first held his tiny body in my arms and gazed into his big blue trusting eyes of his; when I knew that I had made the right decision. I have brought another beautiful life into this world who will touch others with his beauty and how wonderful this all is!
We may be small and insignificant in this world and our actions may seem hopeless; a mere drop in the bucket, but I believe we together…drop by drop by drop, together we are a mighty ocean. Together we can do anything….even save the world! The first step is believing….. and it all starts with you…make your drop count.
Thanks for listening,
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.” ~Fred Rogers
P E A C E I S P O S S I B L E
It may be idealistic
Perhaps a bit simplistic
To hope for what may seem
And just plain unrealistic
But I can see
The need is intrinsic
We are born altruistic
Because the world at peace
If we can cease being pessimistic
And believe Peace can be a Reality
That is the first step…
And this is my first post in Bloggers for Peace. Kozo at Everyday Guru’s has started this wonderful online movement for everyone that wants to join and blog for peace.
The details are here. I believe this is a truly worthy cause and very doable. Please use your blogging talents and influence and spread the word!
“Let my thoughts come to you, when I am gone, like the afterglow of sunset at the margin of starry silence.”
The first time I read the words of this great poet I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Never before or since have I identified so much with another person’s words. The fact that this man was born and passed many years before me and came from a completely different and unknown culture from me mattered not.
His words show a deep and profound connection to nature and spirituality: a connection that I have always instinctively felt for as long as I can remember. My upbringing as a lapsed Catholic couldn’t be further from this, but it is this very sentiment I have felt most deeply.
Tagore seemed to have an understanding of the world and a profound love for the smallest of the small lives mixed with a delightful childlike whimsy that has intrigued me. In my ignorance I thought I was the only one who felt that way and now that I know he lived I don’t feel so alone in my feelings.
As a typical American in that regard, I have not been exposed to or do I know much of other cultures, especially non-Christian ones. I consider this a deficit and I have recently been dipping my toe into the deep waters of the beautiful art and literature of wonderful India. I have been drawn to what I consider a wildly exotic and ancient culture that impresses me greatly.
Rabindranath Tagore in my opinion is the perfect first teacher. I have discovered his works not very long ago and I can’t seem to get enough. What follows are some of my favorite quotes by this amazing poet and fascinating individual.
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
“By plucking her petals you do not gather the beauty of the flower.”
“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”
“The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.”
“Perhaps the crescent moon smiles in doubt at being told that it is a fragment awaiting perfection.”
“Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.”
♦ ALL QUOTES BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE ♦
Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 “because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.”
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” ~Madeleine L’Engle
2012 has been rough for many of us including myself. This past year has hurt me in so many ways. I feel it has been the worst year of all my forty-three. I’ve been battered and bruised and my ego has surely taken a hit. 2012 had me on the ropes and seemingly down for the count more times than I’d like to remember but I keep getting up and that is the important thing…and I’ve grown immensely; in confidence, character and compassion.
This past year has certainly been a lean year as I’m sure it has been for many people but as awful as this year has been it has given me a gift that a million good years could never grant me; the gift of appreciation.
Previously in my life like so many others, I measured success in dollars and although I have never been rich I have generally been comfortable; enough to have a secure roof over my head and more than enough food to eat with a little left over for small indulgences such as trips to Starbucks, dinners out a couple of times a week and frivolous clothes shopping excursions every once in a while. No matter how much I had, I found myself wanting more. It seemed in my warped frame of mind that there was always something I seemed to lack compared to other people around me who always seemed to have more. It was as if I never measured up and that was a refection on me as a person.
I would go to the mall and pass by “Joe Brown’s Caramel Corn”, a long-time popular fixture there. I would smell the caramelly goodness and lament that I couldn’t afford a treat. The place was always busy at the time and it seemed to me I was the only one who had to pass it up and I felt bad.
This past year has wiped out any non-necessary spending at all including my sale hunting shopping trips to the mall…but as it has a tendency to do: life goes on and I couldn’t just sit at home anymore and feel sorry for myself. I returned to the mall and passed by Joe Brown’s but I had been altered somehow. I smelled the heavenly scent emitting from that popular spot but instead of feeling bad because I couldn’t partake in some caramel corn I felt grateful to be able to appreciate the yummy smell. I walked around and people-watched and just took it all in and for really no reason at all I felt elated!
And then it hit me… I was enjoying myself and I didn’t need a dime to do it. I discovered what I had been missing all along: a sense of appreciation just to be alive. This was a feeling that perhaps I never truly had before. It is easy to pay lip service and say you appreciate the small things but to really and truly feel it is quite another thing.
It is a gift that hardship has given me. I have my health and most importantly a family that loves me and that is so much more important than anything! In that I am rich and no matter what the future may bring, I will always carry that around in my heart.
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year full of LOVE and togetherness with family and friends.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”
Christmas is almost upon us and I feel this is the perfect opportunity to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has liked my work, especially those of you who have graced my blog with your intelligent comments. Your feedback has been invaluable to me.
I am blessed to have such an amazing array of regular visitors from all over the world. I have learned so much from your wisdom and thoughtfulness. You have welcomed me with open arms and open minds and I am so fortunate to know you.
When I started this blog back in August of 2011 I was desperate and alone; friendless and misunderstood, you befriended and understood me. I have learned I can be myself here. That is very precious to me as I am a sensitive soul who has hidden this aspect of myself for as long as I can remember.
I had just learned of my Asperger’s and that set the tumblers in motion that has brought me here today: pouring my soul out in words that I wouldn’t dare to say to myself or even acknowledge, let alone write down for the whole world to see.
Because I hid from the world, alone in the shadows, afraid of everything…even people. Yes, I admit it here and now to you that most of my entire life I have been afraid of people; afraid to show my strange self to anyone, not even those closest to me.
I spent a good many years in an alcoholic daze “brave-facing” the world with a drunken defiant smile all the while hiding myself behind a hard steel wall of my own creation. It wasn’t until I discovered my Asperger’s that it finally dawned that I didn’t have to be alone anymore. This started my writing, first on a small blog on an Asperger’s website then a few months later in this blog. I choose the name “My Life in Color” because at the time I thought that I would write solely about my life on the spectrum to give others a chance to perhaps understand someone like me because I wanted/needed desperately to be understood. I was ashamed of this and embarrassed that I didn’t have any real friends just drinking buddies who never knew me because I never let them. I never let anyone know me, even my own family.
It was the fear I hid behind: The fear of rejection, of ridicule, of others knowing what was really going on inside of me; how different I was. I hardly ever spoke to anyone. I just kept writing in my little notebooks and reading and learning. Words were my friends, you see and I knew somewhere deep down in my buried heart that words would someday save me–if I would only have to courage to let those words see the light of day.
But I lacked the confidence, until only recently I had no confidence at all or courage or anything of merit. I just existed and waited for what…I didn’t know, but I do know now. I waited for this; for a chance to be myself: hidden behind a facade of a fake name and the belief that no one would be reading my stuff anyway. The first month or so no one did, not many anyway, but one by one you came and you told me good things about me. You told me I was a good writer. You encouraged me. You understood me and you didn’t laugh at me or make me feel small. I don’t know why, but you kept coming and reading and commenting. Some of you for everything I wrote–everything. You didn’t mind that it sometimes takes me many days to return your comments. You didn’t mind if I didn’t make it to your sites all the time. You just kept returning and as the months came and went some of you called me friend and then after a while I had to courage to call you friend because I’ve learned about friendship from you and this is spilling out into my offline life. I have the courage now; the courage to look others in the eye and smile and say “I’m really glad to see you” and really mean it. This is because of you my friends. You saw something in me that I could never see before and I cannot truly convey how much I appreciate this.
This is like magic to me and now because of you and your kindness and acceptance of me I can finally see beyond myself to you and to others. I have found that I am not so different after all and there are many people in the world who too are alone, even in a crowd as I was. There are a great many people who just want to be understood and to hear someone say ” I care and you matter”
It means so much to me when you say I’ve brightened your day or made you think or smile or even laugh. I didn’t know I could be funny. I didn’t know I could be anything or anyone at all.
You my friends have given me this gift and what a precious one it is, more valuable than gold and it is a gift that keeps on giving because if there is anything I do in this life it will be paying this gift back to anyone and everyone that needs it….and there are so many and I think really, sometimes we all do.
This desire goes beyond my dream to become a writer someday, this silly pipe dream to become the next J.K Rowling. That is nothing. Money is nothing. Notoriety is nothing. I am not alone anymore and that is something and that is because of you!
You have saved me and that is why I am thanking you.
It seems our world is more divided than ever. Is it that our basic human instinct is to exclude rather than include? Are we condemned to repeat mistakes of the past because we have this innate tribal mentality? This Us against Them streak dominates our thinking.
Are we destined to only see the world in black or white?…blue or red?…this or that? left or right? Yes or no?
Or will we acknowledge the need to open our eyes to the whole spectrum of reality to all the colors?…not just the ones we can appreciate and see, but the one’s we do not see and especially the one’s we do not understand.
There are seven billion people on this planet: seven billion hearts and minds…and souls. And seven billion sides to a story, and in essence seven billion realities.
We are all unique individuals–each and every one of us, but we share a common thread that runs through us. We are all connected. I feel it. You probably feel it too.
We share this amazing fantastically beautiful life-giving planet with our fellow humans and all the lifeforms on Earth. This is our common cause.
We share so much and much of what we share is this need for unity. Now more than ever…
“I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, in all that lives.”
Mohandas K. Gandhi
“The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.”
“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”
I remember the first time I heard “I am the Walrus, I mean really heard it. Something inside of me just clicked. I was impressed more by what the song didn’t say and how it went about saying what it didn’t say than what it actually said.
I was inspired that day by the words of Mr. Lennon and I continue to be.
Beyond writing songs with beautiful and eloquent melodies, John had a lot to say and he never minced words. He was a bit of a rebel who suffered from low self-esteem. He was unconventional and opinionated. He wasn’t perfect nor would he want to be.
He was truly an original and although he was with us for such a short time, he added so much to the world while he was here.
Today, October 9th would have been his 72nd birthday.
There will never be another John Lennon.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” Dr. Seuss
I think my love affair with books and the written word started from the moment I held my first book in my chubby little hands. They say you never quite get over your first love and my first happened to be the words and through them the imagination of the one and the only, Dr Seuss.
Theodor Seuss Geisel or Dr. Seuss as he was known, authored 46 children’s books and it was he that influenced me more than any one other writer.
Of course he didn’t write “The Great American novel”. Most people wouldn’t use Dr. Seuss and great in the same sentence, but to me he was great.
The good doctor inspired me through his fantastic imagination and entertaining wordplay to become a lifetime reader and writer. It was Seuss who said it was O.K. to be different and that it’s fun to embrace our own unique selves. It was he that allowed me to give childlike whimsy importance in my life.
It took me many years to realise this. As children grow to adolescents they tend to put away childish things. I was in a hurry to grow up and so The Doctor and his wonderful world of books sat on the shelf gathering dust until I had my own children and through their eyes I rediscovered his books all over again. It has been only recently that I’ve noticed how infused with Seuss I really am.
It is a strange thing to admit but I am what I am and I really don’t mind if my sentences go on and on with lyrical rhyme and a rat-ta-tat patter…or how at times I will make up a word on the spot just for tricks. I have been known to repeat a word over and over because I like the effect. I enjoy thumbing my nose at convention. I think convention can be the killer of creativity and I try to steer clear.
I enjoy the sound of words, they way some roll off the tongue can be a thing of beauty. Other words have a certain look to the letters; a dotting of an “i” and the crossing of a “t” in just the right place can be visually appealing. Words are like spices to me; an almost infinite selection of different flavors and tastes. Some words can be quite melodic and burst onto the page in an explosion of color.
In the lines of my writing I see Dr. Seuss and a smidgen Poe; I’d like to think perhaps a tiny bit of Shakespeare with a twist of Lennon. There are many contributors and I have benefitted from them all. Books have given me the inspirational words of people such as Gandhi, The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh. Science fiction’s Arthur C. Clarke, Piers Anthony and Philip K. Dick let me dream. Jared Diamond, Brian Greene and Micheal Pollan have made me think.
I think I owe some sort of thanks to Seuss and others who have molded and shaped me as a writer and a person as well. We are what we read and we read what we are.
“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is more you-er than you!” Dr. Seuss
What book(s) or author(s) have inspired you? How have they influenced and shaped you as a writer? I would love to hear about it, let’s chat…
During these hot August days and nights I have been visiting some very cool sites of some very talented and engaging bloggers. What follows is a sampling of some excellent recent blog posts that I have particularly enjoyed.
I call this ACROSS THE BLOGOVERSE
Spanning the virtual globe to bring you the finest blogging anywhere…
A Gardener’s Optimism (wordsandherbs.wordpress.com) Cathy conveys the heart and soul of a gardener in her post. Beautifully written with a flourish.
I believe we all have that spark inside of us; that indescribleness that I shall attempt to describe here. A special something unique to each and every one of us. Call it a soul, a consciousness or the divine…it precedes our birth and it dwells far beyond the physical; deep inside down the rabbit hole. It can be so faint it is difficult to grasp, it is difficult to see and it’s easy to lose one’s way. This I know firsthand.
Sometimes people give up. It is gradual. They die a little inside every day until one day they realize the spark has grown cold, pale and lifeless. It may seem at times to be totally extinguished. It may seem that way sitting all alone in the dark. At times the truth is clouded by our proximity to it. And sometimes we see only what we wish to see.
My truth says the spark can never die that the spirit is timeless and beyond time. I believe it is a thread that weaves us all together like a beautiful tapestry, full of rich color; filled with hopes and dreams and the song of the universe telling a tale that is in constant rewrite.
My truth also tells me the spark can grow and burn brilliantly with the intensity of a million suns. It can set the world aflame with the light of unity and compassion. I believe it is up to those who burn the brightest to light the way for those who cannot see. I have found that a good many of us have walked in darkness at some point in our lives and the experience brings about an appreciation of the light and a profound sympathy of those who still dwell in that cold dark realm of nothingness.
We are all connected and we can tell if a fellow human is in distress, even a stranger. We have that built-in empathy that we literally feel each other’s pain.
We can also feel each other’s joy as well…..
What am I trying to say with all this spiritual mumbo jumbo? Chalk it up to new age silliness or an open mind full of crazy notions, maybe it’s a mid-life crisis or too much caffeine that’s prompting me to write all this today. I don’t know…
We all believe differently. I am the first person to acknowledge this. I prefer that people should believe whatever they damn well please as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. There are universal truths that most of us agree on…
Kindness begets kindness and spreading joy is a hell of a lot better than spreading its opposite. Patience is golden and at times we all need a little light.
Burning bright at midnight…wishing you a sunny day,