Tag Archives: music

Reflections ~ Thoughts on a Holiday in Transition

This has been a rough year on a several levels for myself, and the world around me. Icons that we looked up to have left us. Emotional and heart-rending votes were taking place in a number of countries, and violence continues to take so many in circumstances few of us really understand, or stop to figure out. When the world is jumbled up around us, we sometimes seek peace in the smaller things, the smaller world, that we know. All the hubbub of this year drove me back to basic ideas, places where I knew compromise was not an option. It also walked me through the morning after. These are my vaguely connected thoughts on a Christmas in transition.

This blog started with a desire to explain something of why Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah means so much to me; what it says to me that touches me so. Leonard Cohen, a Canadian musician, song writer, and novelist, acquired several prestigious awards. He is one of those we lost this past year. One of the magical things about this piece is the flexibility it provides. Cohen provided a framework with references to King Saul, King David, and Sampson, and led us through one of life’s mysteries: how can love be so precious and yet, sometimes, so painful. There have been dozens of lyrics added to the framework and the melody, some by Cohen himself, some by others. It is a melody and a theme that touches many, perhaps even with some understanding. My favorite line (if a favorite is possible): “Love is not a victory march, it’s a cold and broken Hallelujah.”

Why? I don’t see it as a bleak condemnation of genuine relationships, I see it as an honest admission that however passionate we may be, however perfect our union may be, life can and does interfere, and yet we find the joy of a hallelujah, and when things are not as hoped, we find a way to move on.

The final scene in the play J. B. by Archibald MacLeish has the characters picking up the tossed stage props and beginning to restore order. The play is a free-verse modernized interpretation of the Biblical book of Job. After all the devastation J. B. and his family face, the near loss of his wife, and the heart-rending self-examination of “where did I go wrong,” J. B. and his wife pick up the pieces and begin to rebuild. That’s who we are as human beings, when everything is taken from us, we begin again. It is only when we are honest with ourselves that we can admit, whatever praise we offer is a broken hallelujah.

That leads me to my Christmas, which I spent alone, in my own cocoon. Due to the fortunate convergence of a Christmas bonus and a radically priced clearance desk, I decided to restructure my office. First of all, I am not very good with change, especially in my workplace. This was a major deal for me. Second, the desk that was going away had been a birthday present from my husband. It is old, it was battered, it needed to move on – however difficult that might be. As I assembled the new desk, I found that a few screws for knobs and handles were missing. That means a few pieces of the old desk are with me still. I also made the choice to begin using my husband’s office chair. It took me three days to complete the transition and it was a journey of fond, and painful memories, of moving forward, of broken hallelujahs.

before

To me, the thought I wish most to hold on to from this brief reflective time is that we can learn from where we are, and then move forward. We cannot surrender simply because things didn’t work out as we hoped, we re-visit who we are and stay true to that image, picking up the pieces, and moving forward.

after

I have no idea why the picture is tilted – perfectly square on the wall. 🙂

Fair journey, my friends. Know that the universe does not revolve around our own special views, wishes, or even needs, and that is okay. Because we are human, with reason, logic, and passion, we can pick up the pieces and begin again.

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Filed under Humanties for the Unbound Mind, My Journey with Job, Personal Journeys

When the forecasts talk back.

Few professions seem to be more devoid of all imagination than accounting. The general assumption is that the day to day grind of processing numbers, finding “bottom lines” and figuring out what someone thought they were doing is, well, beyond boring. Accounting, to some folks, ranks somewhere in the neighborhood of watching paint dry. By extension such folks assume that the people whdragono perform these tasks are unimaginative creatures, condemned to watching spreadsheets grow and morph. Well, it isn’t quite that way. At least not for all of us. You see, I’m an accountant and I should know.

Actually, I’m a special kind of accountant, one that spends at least part of her time looking into the fogs of the future and making “educated guesses” on what might happen. This is really pretty important. People spend money on what they think will happen, not on what happened yesterday. Don’t believe me? Give someone a few thousand dollars. Are they going to remember they were broke yesterday and couldn’t find enough to eat? Not very often! So, “looking into the future” becomes a discipline, a way of saying, what might happen. And that is where the possibilities begin.

I will admit that most forecasts, budgets and predictions are just another set of numbers manipulated based on historical information and pushed forward with (ahem) reasonable expectations. But every now and then the practiced forecaster can catch a bit of something special. Something just over the horizon if only. One night, I had a helper.

It was a typical night. Well, a typical nearing midnight, eyes sagging, falling asleep kind of night when I first glimpsed my own tiny dragon. The project I was working on was creative, did require some knowledge of the arts, and also required some background on what makes people want to contribute to a project for the pure pleasure of it; not because it has some promised return. That is not particularly easy.

After writing pages and pages of answers to questions on a tax form, my eyes became quite droopy. The words were blurring and I was positive I had said the same things already, probably had knowing tax forms as I do. Did I miss a question? How can I make this sound like, well, it has meaning and should be supported? “You need a little spark there.” What?

“Yes, just there. It sounds like you’re selling shoes, not music.” I’m talking to myself now? “No, you silly woman, you are not talking to yourself, I’m trying to help you here!” I’m only drinking tea, who is talking to me? “Right here, right on your monitor stand, your own special dragon. I can see what is on the screen and you sound more boring than a tax auditor. You have to pep this up.” I am tired, I had better shut this whole mess down.

Suddenly, a tiny spark flew into the air and there was a faint odor of wood smoke. And I saw him. A tiny blue and green dragon posing near my monitor and pointing with his front paw at a particularly long and dense passage. Well, he was right. It was horrible. Even if no one ever read it, it was horrible. I sighed.

“So what would you suggest, Mr. Oh-so-smart?”

“Go back to the reason you took this thing on to begin with.” (Delivered with tiny puffs of smoke.) “Tell these people, if anyone ever reads this, that this is the most important idea in the whole county. That bringing the passion of Baroque and Classical music to a rural resort in the middle of nowhere is a spark of inspiration, an opportunity that few if any of these people would ever enjoy without this particular program. Tell these people that in a world full of ugly news and terrifying tragedies, that you can still celebrate the beauty that humanity can create. And you can do it in a secluded, mountain valley during a weekend retreat with world class artists and terrific food.”

Well, even if no one ever reads this stuff, I think I’d like to go.

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Filed under My Fiction - Very Short Fiction

Reflections ~ The Day the TV Died

For those of you who have read my book, Who I Am Yesterday, you may recall a brief chapter on TVs and movies and how life in the viewing world changes when you are a caregiver. I left off at a point where just about the only thing my husband could watch was romantic comedies or science shows. As with everything else, this too has its progression.

First the movies had to go. He could no longer sit for the 90 minutes or more that it takes to get through one. There was always work he had to do.

Then everyone suddenly became stupid, except for Morgan Freeman and his narration of “Through the Wormhole.” As much as I love science, seeing these cuts 30 times or so became a bit of a drag. I found other things to do while sitting on the couch. Logic problems, reading, sleeping. Then he decided he had seen it all or so and so didn’t know what he or she was talking about. For a brief window we watched a few other programs; again. Some I had to put away because, well, they were bad or terrible or out to do something or other.  No dead or agony allowed.

There was a brief spell where he thought it was interesting to watch some of the course material I have acquired in order to build my knowledge of philosophy and the art of writing. One morning he sat for a full 4 hours watching lecture after lecture. Within a few days I realized that he thought the instructor was speaking directly to him and he wasn’t sure what to think of it all. Back to Morgan.

One afternoon I heard him talking in the living room and, never sure of what to expect, I peeked. He was telling Moran (the image on the title frame of the series) that I was a nice lady and he hoped we might meet one day.

I think you see the progression here. The glass pane between our living room and the world in the box was fast melting away as my husband’s sense of where reality started or ended was devoured by the disease. Somewhere in here he decided to learn how to use the remotes.

Now, once he takes over something it is his. The remotes became his property, kept in “his” room. He actually managed fairly well. Press a button, things aren’t quite working, lady in computer room hops up and changes things. Then Morgan fell from his pedestal and morphed into a bad person. Someone that wanted me. Someone we mustn’t talk to. Morgan was taken out of the DVD deck.

Next he found the cable remote and we had a few lessons on that. Worked for, oh, maybe 5 days. Then the weather channel became the science channel and there was Morgan, again.

One morning this past week I was working away in my office and heard the programs reeling out. Lunch time approached and he wasn’t at my door. I finished some things and then went to the living room to see if he was hungry. He was huddled beside the refrigerator in the kitchen hiding from Mr. Freeman. Whispering to me, “He’s back.”

Well, there was no way I could get him to stop pushing buttons and it was obvious we were at a point where whatever was on that screen would be misinterpreted in some way so I promised to make Mr. Freeman go away and unplugged the TV. Forever.

Perhaps this is not as tragic as the inspiration for this song, but then again, maybe it is.

 

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Filed under Caregiving Backstage, Personal Journeys