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Thursday, July 28, 2011

All New Look!! All New Philosophy!! All New Name!!

Drop and Give Me 10 is no more...It has ceased to be.

Welcome to StoryTown Tales, where all we want to hear are your stories. True or False. Real or Imagined. Straight Poop or Bullshit.

Why the change? Well, the old format seemed a bit constrictive, and I wanted more room for expression.

So anything goes...Sonnets, Lyrics, Prose, Rants.

But tell a story...

And we'll tell one back...


And so it goes...

Monday, June 20, 2011

SHOW: Thank you very F#%&ing Much



 I suppose its ego, really. No one will ever read this, so why bother to record it. Serves no purpose but to remind me from time to time how great I art. Still, at  those times when I’m feeling unappreciated, and Maker knows those times are frequent, it helps to know that I can look back to a time of accomplishment.

            I saved the World again last night, thank you very fucking much.  From which alien life from, or what man-made organism is not important. Space Slug or Uber virus are of a likeness to me in all but size. The end is always the same though the means be different.

            I don’t mean to give the impression that I do this alone. I do not. I operate as part of a vast worldwide network that has, at this point, existed for centuries.  For the most part we are unseen, unnoticed and that’s the way we like it. Mostly we’re solo operatives but we have been known to mobilize en masse, should the threat be big enough. We are also very good at out our job.

            I’m tired and hungry, and there is nothing to be found. Would it kill them to keep the fucking crunchies bowl filled?
                                                                                                     Patches
                                                                                          (Counter Assault Tactition)

Monday, June 13, 2011

11: This One Goes to....

     In the 60's we all had aspirations to be in a band. The Beatles and the Monkees had seen to that. And I pestered, yes pestered was the word she used, my mother for a guitar.

     While having taken piano lessons as a child and having excellent taste in music in general, I felt she must not be as knowledgeable on stringed instruments. She gave me a ukulele one birthday.
  
     "What's this?" I asked, as if I'd been cheated which is what I felt at the time.

     " It's a Ukulele" she replied.

     " This isn't a Guitar. I wanted a guitar" I complained. I've always been one to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when I was a kid. This is why I appreciated the advent of the gift card so much.

      "It is a guitar. Ukulele is Hawaiian for "Little Guitar". It isn't. It's actually translates to "jumping flea" in Hawaiian, but when you're lying to to a child it's important to sound as if you have authority on a subject..

     "I've never seen John, Paul or George play ukuleles"

     "They did when they were your age".


     I had no answer and, as it turned out, she got lucky on that one.  I saw the above picture not long afterwards. Still it wasn't a guitar and, as far as I was concerned, it was still on.

     Finally the Christmas I was 8 years old I got it. It was made out of particle board and had pictures of cowboys on it, but it was full size, and mine.

    Full size was the problem. I had and have smallish hands (admittedly they're bigger now than then, thank you) which kept me from being able to chord properly. Add to that, the guitar couldn't hold a tune, and we couldn't afford lessons, so when I played it sounded pretty awful.

     However...My uncle who I didn't see often knew a little guitar showed me how to play the bass line for ''Louie Louie". It only needed one finger on the fret and the fact that I had to change frets during it impressed the hell out of my friends and I was invited to join their band.

     We had no name. We had no talent.. None of us could play. We did have the one place to play. The front entrance to Rose Avenue Public School, on weekends...in good weather...  until somebody told us to shut up.

  And every song had the bass line for "Louie Louie"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Absolvo

Last night as I was driving east down I-84 on my way home from an emotional visit with my family, my mind drifted about all the changes I was making for the future and I almost missed my exit.

I'd been remembering a time when I was in the hospital with an unknown condition which caused agonizing pain from my waist down and all kinds of doctors teamed up attempting to diagnose it. The door to my room might has well have been revolving for all the quick 'head pop in's' who never introduced themselves (incidentally, my version of Whack-A-Mole was to not pay them so it worked out very satisfactorily) but some were intrigued and considered what I had a challenge if only I wasn't such an uncooperative patient.

My stomach was uncooperative because it rejected all food. My veins were uncooperative because they rejected by the hour all needles and IVs. My nervous system was uncooperative because I had an unusual immunity to morphine among other opiates. My flesh was uncooperative because if you so much as approached me with a cotton ball I would lose my mind in dread anticipation of pain.  And my wounds were uncooperative because MRSA was wreaking havoc and threatening to stop zigzagging and head straight for internal organs and bone.

One particular specialist which I had once visited prior to my hospitalization looked like a kindly old grandpa and was so reassuring I began to trust him but his bedside manner proved me horribly wrong. He told me he had to do a biopsy at my bed and I begged him for a anesthetic. He told me not to be silly and shoved a long swab in a wound and grimaced when I shrieked.

 My sister, who had not left my side and had been eating my dinner, stood up and told him to stop. He responded by throwing her out of the room, closing the privacy curtain and approached me with an instrument which bore a remarkable resemblance to a melon-baller.

 Again, I pleaded for an anesthetic and he rolled his eyes and said there was one on the bedside table if it got too rough (he was lying) and just before he touched me, my sister shouted from the doorway, 'IF HE HURTS YOU ELAINE, YOU SCREAM! DO YOU HEAR ME? YOU SCREAM!!!'

The pain was so excruciating that my eyes rolled back and I let out a bloodcurdling shriek which made him drop the instrument, announce he was done and walk out. My sister ran inside and hugged me and didn't leave until Spouse arrived after he got out of work. They took shifts staying with me because in spite of impressive doses of Xanax, my anxiety levels were through the roof.

By the time he got there, the Dilaudid injection had kicked in and I was somewhat loopy as I listened to her tell him how proud she was of me and to never let that sadist near me again. They promised me juice and I fell asleep feeling like a warrior. A somewhat discombobulated warrior like the Black Knight in a Monty Python romp, but I had found my voice.

A month later I was released from the hospital under the constant care of frequent visiting nurses and Spouse and my sister as often as her job permitted.

 Because I couldn't have a Dilaudid IV at home, my medical team was running in last minute circles before my discharge trying to come up with an extremely potent painkiller or cocktail that would enable me to at least not suffer so much so that I would lose consciousness even if it didn't do much as far as real relief but the only cocktail they could come up with were high doses of Percocet and Fentanyl pops, tiny suckers that would dull the pain just enough that I wouldn't consider slitting my wrists as I was told my very rare almost unheard of condition had a high suicide rate due to that pain.

 They told me not to let anyone near those pops because they were normally only prescribed to those in last stage cancer and unless one was already dependent on a narcotic, one pop could potentially stop the heart of the user. So in my altered state of consciousness, I asked Spouse to lock them away and administer only what I needed for the day, and told my sister the truth, that if she experimented with them, as she had done with painkillers in the past to self-treat her occasional pulled muscles and other maladies, she could die. She promised me she wouldn't and I drifted off safely into a blissful almost but not quite painless fog.

For nearly six months.

I was quite lonely and isolated as the MRSA still had not been put in check, so when I could focus, I found a new home on the internet and when I couldn't concentrate I talked to my cat Mr.Peaches. Peachy was my kid in a catsuit, my first pet that was mine and I was his and everybody knew it. His loyalty to me, is still legend. While I recuperated, he died after a lengthy battle with liver cancer, on his own terms after a tender good-bye with me the night before. He was stoic and steadfast, my best true friend, even in his own pain and the lessons learned there are branded deeply into my heart.

And then my sister suddenly died in her sleep, some of my Fentanyl pops on her nightstand. My guilt and my grief were unbearable. I was too ill to attend her funeral, just as I was too ill to attend my brother's two years later, he dying of the same thing, having only spoken to him days before, just like my sister. I had lost so much in so short a time but still I refused to curse God and die. I didn't feel like talking too much to Him especially since a lot of people like Job's buddies thought they could speak for Him, volunteered quite enthusiastically as well and this too I wondered about as I drove home almost missing my exit.

Last night my sister-in-law confronted me in anguish and rage and demanded to know why I hadn't attended my brother's burial, the brother who loved me above all, and I had to confess the horror that continues to follow me and she forgave me and is already proving to be a staunch ally in this campaign which I have begun in order to save my future, to save myself.

In fact, my brother's last words to her, he the only one who saw the truth about what my family was still insisting wasn't happening, were, "Believe Elaine no matter how it looks, believe her."

Remembering my sister shouting to scream, my brother whispering that I was telling the truth and Peachy tenderly saying hold on, hold on, hold on, reaching from the grave, they gave me voice, credibility and mercy when I thought I had lost it. When I felt alone and adrift and betrayed by everyone and under attack.

Like Job who lost his family, his health, his belongings and everything good and meaningful, there is some reason which I may never know, behind the agony and loss. But I do know that like Job that I will forgive all, myself especially and I will be restored multiple times over.

 I cannot change the past and have only so much power over the present but after what is meaningless falls away and I am stripped to the bone, to the core, I have not missed my exit but found a new doorway, and will start anew.

Now, later, begins today.
New topic keyword, for those onboard: "later"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Illusion

Every mirror in my house has its own story. The one over the sofa table (horizontal once, now vertical) used to hang behind my family's couch and before that, my maternal grandmother's who grew bored with it. Cradled in a gilt baroque Florentine style frame, although it has a few scratches and in some spots the gold is worn, it is quite lovely. In spite of its ornateness, it's because of the silver pool in its center, also simple, and lends itself to an airiness in the room.

Directly across it, so they reflect each other, is the centerpiece of the living room; a giant sofit chimney, over a built in mirror, over an illusion mantle, then fireplace. Gazing into one, you can see the back of your head in the other.

I barely look into either.

The house was designed by an architect for himself and his family and in its style has a strange dichotomy, From outdoors, it looks smaller than it is and somewhat like a fairytale cottage but when you step inside, you see an entirely modern contemporary design with many sharp angles, bright wide skylights and narrow floor to ceiling casement windows which are filled with scenery from the woods all around them.

People have remarked about my stained glass windows in the summer and I have explained more than once that they are clear and what they're actually looking at is the bright leaves of the trees close by. The view is breathtaking and a gift I will always cherish even when this house is sold and I never see it again.

There's a stand-alone oval Victorian revival mirror framed in cherry, that my brother Donny was thrilled to buy me as as surprise but forgot to give me for two years. That he thought of me was the real treasure especially since when it was brought into the house, my husband broke the stand itself and hasn't seen fit in nearly 7 years to attempt to fix it.

Nothing that breaks in this house ever gets fixed unless I take it upon myself to take command and I haven't had the heart for so long so it's beginning to look like the slowly decaying mansion in Great Expectations. Not exactly left at the altar, I, but sorta kinda in a way, yes. Dreams not lost, almost, but only, thankfully deferred.

The last two mirrors of note are twins which came to America from Italy with my paternal Italian grandparents. They are the most ornate in deep dark walnut carved lovingly with giant roses and part of an 8 piece bedroom suite. The silver has long since tarnished and the cost of replacement or refurbishing is prohibitive but I am content to just have them reflect the light that pours into the room from those blessed skylights and windows scattered throughout.

I don't often look into them either.

People tend to look at me and in sizing me up often assume I am superficial. I tend to joke that I am but only, like those mirrors, on the surface. I am surrounded and steeped in beauty everywhere I look but it took me many years not so much to own my own, but to believe anyone else knew it. I studied what I saw reflected in those mirrors and many before them and wondered why not, but I was only fooling myself.

As with the mirrors reflecting mirrors in the living room, I was so distracted trying to catch the image of the back of my head that I never believed what I thought I did. I was indeed beautiful but didn't think what was was beneath the surface was as well, or was worth it, so how could anyone else?

It took a lot of heartache to see that while I had my own light, in order to attract it, I had to reflect it and stop hiding in the dark.

And so I stepped away from the surface and stepped out into the light.

TODAYS TEN MINUTE TOPIC IS........................................

Mirror. Go!