Columbus Day--This used to be a big day when I was in grade school. I remember all the build-up to the holiday, (which back then was celebrated on the actual day, not when it was convenient,) as my teachers would always try to bring whatever topic they were talking about back to Columbus and how he was the first person to discover America. The math teacher had us try to figure out the nautical miles he sailed, the English teacher had us write reports on him, the science teacher tried to teach us about the animals he might have seen. When I was young, I swallowed what I was taught and didn't think anything of it, like whether it was true or not.
As an adult, having lived in Mexico, studied foreign cultures, and read more books than I can count, I see how biased those early history lessons truly were and it often makes me wonder what other historical facts I learned as a child that really are not accurate. It's kind of sad, really, that history is so distorted, that people find the need to write down events not as they happened, but in a way that makes themselves or some important person of the time look better than he/she is or was.
When I think about it, I realize most holidays in the United States have moved so far beyond their original intent that it's difficult to fathom what the origins of a particular day actually were. Halloween, soon to arrive, seems to be nothing but a means to sell tons and tons of candy to people who are already overweight and certainly don't need the added calories all that white sugar and chemicals will dump into their systems. Thanksgiving is swallowed up in the pre-Christmas rush of buy, buy, buy...all those sales lead into the Christmas season, if there is such a thing now as some stores already have Christmas items for sale even though it's October. The Christmas of today seems nothing but a commercial attempt to get more and more items onto the shelves and off again and into the households of consumers as rapidly as possible.
Yes, I'm being cynical; perhaps because of the books I've been reading lately, perhaps because my birthday grows closer and I wonder sometimes why we bother with all the rush and bustle. Take today; it's a holiday for some, a work day for others. I worked this morning, editing a manuscript, then spent a couple of hours after lunch picking up firewood from our little piece of woods. Although it is cloudy out, and there are these really annoying clouds of gnats around, it was pleasant to scuff through the dry leaves that have fallen from the maples and birch and pick up logs and chuck them into the pick-up truck. It was productive, energizing work, and probably closer to something Columbus or the Indians he "discovered" might have done on this day hundreds of years ago than run to the nearest mall and buy something on sale.
Well, enough of being critical, this holiday like many others has morphed into something quite different than it was forty, fifty, a hundred years ago, and that's not necessarily going to change anytime soon. I do wonder what the history books of a hundred years from now will write about this period of time, though.
Four days ago, two girls I knew mainly through their friendships with my sons, died
in a tragic car accident. If they had worn their seatbelts, they wouldn’t have
been ejected from the car and that might have made all the difference.
I knew Brooke only for a short time when she dated my youngest son, Finn. She made
him happy and that made me happy. The puppy love of sixteen and seventeen year
olds always brings a smile to my face. That smile has turned to tears as I think
of how young Brooke was when she died, seventeen, headed towards her senior year
of high school. According to Finn, all she wanted to do was to graduate and head
out of her hometown of Jackman to see the world and experience all the good
things in life.
As Lady Gaga plays softly in the background, I cry, knowing Brooke will never hear
these songs again, will never dance at her prom or wedding…so many things left
undone. I try to imagine what Brooke's last thoughts might have been; in my
mind, I hear her say, 'I love you, mummy.' I hope I'm right.
I didn't really know Jessica, but she was friends with my oldest son, Yule, and he
always had fun tales to tell me of his times spent with the Worster twins,
Jessica and Jasmine. My heart goes out to Jasmine who has lost her other half.
Recently I read a book by Christa Parravani titled Her,
about her life as an identical twin and the horrible experience of losing her
sister, Cara. I hope someday Jasmine can read this book and experience what
Christa does after four years of extreme suffering, that "Cara had crossed into
the afterlife alone; this was her fate. There are places even a twin can't
follow. [Christa] stood transformed on a cold night in September, four years
after she had died [her] heart pumped warm blood, face flush with something
unexpected: hope . . .I was thrilled and terrified. I was alive."
I barely knew these girls and yet waves of sadness wash over me. They were both so
young; their lives didn't have to end this way. But they did, and we, the
living, whether we knew them or not, must move forward with our lives. The
answer I've found to help me with the surprisingly strong amount of grief I have
is to remember to love, love myself, love my husband, love my sons, parents,
friends, neighbors. When I let love wash over me like a soft white wave of
healing, instead of the deep blue, swirling waves of tears, I feel at peace. I
hope that all of those who are grieving right now, for these girls, and other
loved ones who have died, can find that soft white wave of love and have it curl
around them and hold them tight. Love and peace.
Here it is almost the end of May, Memorial Day weekend for crying out loud, and all my good intentions of maintaining this blog on a regular basis just keep going out the window.
I created a chart (I'm a big one for charts and lists) that should have helped me track the number of times I posted here each month, and on other sites like Goodreads, Pinterest, etc. and the chart sits empty. In fact, scanning my desk quickly, I can't even find the darn thing, let alone know when I last posted to any of those sites. Ugh!
So, on this yet another rainy day, I sit at my desk and ask myself, why aren't you posting? Why aren't you trying to gather a faithful readership which every freaking blog out there on writing says is an absolute necessity these days, not only for sales, but also to catch the eye of an agent and/or publisher?
I shake my head, stare out the window at the endless rain (nine days and counting, but hey, I am so grateful we don't live in Moore, Oklahoma and best of luck to all of you, I wish I could send you some of my extra stuff, like dishes and clothes that we don't need and you do, but I digress) and think . . . I don't write this blog because one, I'm not sure anyone ever reads it, two, I'd rather put what little writing time I do have into my novel, and three, I am just too darn busy trying to make a living editing and reading books for review--after six hours at the computer for work, another one for personal emails and a laugh or two at stuff on Facebook, I really, really need to get away from this screen and look at real light, even murky, rainy daylight. I read one-three hours each night so I can plow through ten or eleven books a month and with a garden, a husband, two cats, and a house to care for, that doesn't leave much time for anything else, like posting on a regular basis.
So, my apologies once again to those readers who have left comments from time to time--I didn't answer because I'm a snot, but because I just figured out the way to actually see your comments and I feel really bad that months have gone by without any kind of response. I thought I was writing this stuff and shipping it off into the endless void of cyberspace, but apparently there are a few of you out there who have connected and liked what you read.
For those of you who have been following, here's a quick synopsis of what's happened to me in the past couple of months--the knee injury has been a major setback for someone who is used to walking on a daily basis regardless of weather conditions, but I am thankful it is slowly getting better-no deep knee bends still or kneeling, but hey, I can climb a flight of stairs without pain and walked on the beach with my sons, although I had to wear a knee brace. My hubby and I spent eight days on Oahu and came back to all this rain. We stayed with my oldest son and had a grand time. Hawaii is definitely on the must-travel-to-again list and will be vying for time and money with Mexico from now on. I am back to work, glad that my inbox is constantly full, and the stack of books by my bed never seems to diminish as new titles appear on a weekly basis . . . those books give me hope that some day a reviewer will be reading my novel or memoir(s). So, if you read this and want to comment, that'd be grand. Living life keeps me busy and my writing time is precious, but I'll try to make more frequent appearances here for all our sakes. Aloha and Mahalo.
About Ditched the Niche
One woman's perspective on