Honestly…

Honestly, Truthfully, Trustworthy

I can believe

I can disbelieve

I can act

I can choose not to act

Why must I be protected from truth?

Ignorance is Bliss

It takes my decisions

and makes them impotent.

It takes my perception

and skews it.

“You don’t need to know

“Not now, later

“To protect you

Saying this only

when I NEED to know

when I NEED to know now

when it doesn’t protect me because

I don’t know.

Facts in timely manner

Not emotions

Withhold, Lie

No preparation

No trust

Surprise, and confusion

Tell Me.  Honestly

 

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CW challenge: They all died, I survived

They knew

They all knew

The Parents

The Teachers

The counselors

They knew

We weren’t crying

for help

We didn’t want

help

We held life and death in

the palms of our hands

We weren’t weak

We were determined

Hold hands, 3 of us

1…2…3 JUMP

cold icy water

my foot hurts–no my ankle

why do I feel pain?

Struggle to surface

Why struggle?

Current moves me

Pain

Inhale water

But I can’t

Blow out all air

but I can’t

Rock in my side

Branch on my arm

Roll to back

Cough…cry

Strong hands pull me out

I failed

They didn’t

Alone

 

 

Descent

I heard an interesting piece on Exploring Music tonight.  The composer was writing this in the 1980’s and so many of his friends had died from Aids.  So he wanted to commemorate them in song and wrote a special symphony for the Chicago Symphony.

The music inspired me.  It describes his friend as he goes slowly insane due to his disease.

It’s simple

It’s just perception

You get it don’t you?

It’s such a straight forward concept.

You just… um…yeah

You just take it, um, one step at a time

I can do this

All I need to do is…um

Do is…

Where was I?

Just access your memory

Picture what you…um…

What you want to say

I’ve done this… um…

before  and I remember…

um

The kids playing

Dog in the way

Homework

Dishes need to be…

waxed…washed

and then…

Yah…

I stare into space

I’m confused.

It’s simple…

You just…just…

OH Come ON!  Just say it!

You just…?

WHERE ARE MY WORDS?!

ok  breathe

You…just…

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

CW–closet full of rags

Shopping

I HATE shopping

Racks of clothes

All size 2

Go to my size…

Nondescript tents

Throw up my hands

Sit in car and cry

Salvation Army

Racks of clothes

Smell funny

10,000 green sweaters in my size

This one still has original tag…never worn

$6.

I have a closet full

Clothes no one wanted

Clothes of the dead.

The new clothes I bought

years ago

Worn thin

Forlorn in my closet

Gradually out grown

Too tight

Too short

Buttons gone

Seams strained

Food-stained.

My latest clothes

Not new

Fit oddly

Destined to be

dusty and

unworn

Rags in my closet.

 

Le Sigh…

I know I’m not the only one that has these episodes.  I think to myself:

I’m smart…but not as smart as I think

I’m talented…but at things that don’t matter

I care…but not about things that do matter

I am well read…on books no one else reads

I am persistent…with things that don’t last

I am patient…when I shouldn’t be

I am impatient…when I shouldn’t be

I keep getting up…when I should stay down

Why did God give me these gifts?  I only misuse them.  I have “I’ve Got it from here” syndrome.  I have such and such interest, so I will learn as much as I can about it and use it to the best of my ability.  Then a I fail–publicly, horrifically, and irreparably.

I thought I was a musician.  I did things none of my teachers thought I could do.  I really exceeded their expectations.  I was the 1st person in the history of my college to test out of both semesters of ear training.  I played a Strauss horn concerto for one of my brass class solos when everyone else played a Middle School or Grade School solo.  I played the Star Spangled Banner in 4 keys in 4 different arrangements for my piano proficiency test when the others could only play what they’d memorized.  I hid nursery rhymes in my music theory compositions.  In addition to playing every orchestral/band instrument, I also sing and have perfect pitch.  I also play recorder, guitar, and bass guitar as well as drum kit.  I also play some instruments nobody has ever heard of.  Sooo, I thought to myself, I should be a music teacher.  I got fired from every public and parochial music teaching job I had.  I got fired from the church choir jobs I had.  Nobody will play or sing the music I write.  I only teach on the individual level now.  My impact is minimal.

I thought I was a cook.  At one point, I was able to cook 6 different omelettes at once.  My crew was the fastest back line in any of the fast food joints I worked at.  It was another thing I was good at that really wasn’t important.  At one store, when I did the food inventory and actually counted the product and the waste rather than using the computer generated list and adding or subtracting 1/2 a case of this and 4 of that, the store was off by 7 cases of meat and 14 cases of fries…$7000 difference, and I was blamed for the theft.  The district manager was called to the store and he and I did the inventory together, and he believed that I had sold the food out the back door and pocketed the money.  So it didn’t matter how fast and efficient we were in the kitchen or how well the food was produced and served.

I thought I was guru on finance.  I had my series 6/63 investment license which was for mutual funds on the client level, my series 26 which was the supervisory license for investments and allowed me to actually run an office if needed, and my series 65 which made me an investment adviser representative and put me in a very small group of brokers who could work with managed accounts.  I did $600,000 worth of trades in one month.  I am also licensed in several other types of financial products and I know how to integrate all these aspects into a comprehensive financial strategy.  I can’t convince anyone that I would be a good resource for financial advice–not even all my kids.

I thought I was well educated.  I have taught and tutored College level Statistics, Economics, Calculus, English Lit and Composition, High School Physics and Chemistry, Business Law and Contracts, Spanish, Renaissance Literature, History, and Trade.  I have a degree in Music Education and one in Business Administration.  Most people’s first impression of me is that I’m not very smart.

I thought I had some Leadership Skills.  I have a certification on Leadership with John Maxwell, All rights reserved 2017
www.ChristianDelRosario.comthe most revered name in Leadership with over 100 books published.  I can’t get seminars or groups or masterminds together to study leadership.  I scheduled a leadership seminar through my church and invited members of the church boards and pastors from all over the Omaha area and not one single person signed up–not even anyone from my own church.  I write a leadership blog that after 4 years only has 14 followers.  I have a certification in business and life coaching with Christian Simpson, Entrepreneur and Coaching expert, and I have no clients.

I thought I was a writer.  I have co-authored and published 3 books and have given them to my kids and personally have not sold a single copy.

I have absolutely nothing to offer that anyone in my community, my church, or my friends and relatives wants.  So, why do I have all these “talents?”  Maybe I don’t.  Maybe I’m deluding myself.  Dear Lord.  I’m dense.  Send me a freakin’ NEON SIGN telling me what I am supposed to do or be.  I’m 63 now and have been beaten and broken 1000’s of times.  Should I stay down?  I’m tired.  I don’t want to get up again.

Things and Emotions

When you talk of things…you need to describe them in 3 dimensions, then the time setting, then the surrounding elements.

The clock on the wall was old fashioned.  It had a second hand, a minute hand and an hour hand moving slowly around the circle.  The clock was a plain white against the flowered wall paper in the kitchen.   It was about the size of a small paper plate, but the numbers were big enough to see.  You could see it from the living room, and though it was never accurate, it was getting close to dinner time. The cord snaked down the wall to the outlet which was above what should have been wainscoting, but was in fact just a different pattern of wall paper and border.  The clock was covered in dust and grease from the kitchen.  It might have had some sugar debris from all the jams and jellies cooked there.

The more words, the better the author has succeeded in putting you in the room with the object.

Now if you talk emotions, fewer words are better.  Same clock, but now we’re getting the emotional side

Tick

Tock

The second hand crawls

The minute hand feels frozen in time

Slowly and relentlessly

Tick 

Tock

He’s coming

He’ll be unhappy

I tried

The kitchen is not much different

than when he left

It’s late

He will have been drinking

Will he hit me?

Will he yell?

Will I survive?  

Tick 

Tock

(Lest you get the wrong idea, I watch too many SVU episodes.  I have known women who have been abused, and the clock is not their friend.)

See?  You don’t need to know what size it is or what color.  It represents an emotion. That’s why poetry is so difficult to write.  You have to distill the emotions and get them across to make your emotional point.  Do the emotions come first or does the object?  For me, it’s the object.  I pick one and think how I can use it to describe what my character is feeling.  Others choose an emotion and look around for something suitable to convey the feeling.  I wanted her to be experiencing dread and hopelessness.  Another would have used those emotions and then stared at something else.

They were still high

Piled up on the counter

and some stuck to each other

I work

I have to take care of kids

The drain is slow

He’ll be home soon

I can get the big things washed

The roast is nearly done

I’m scrubbing as fast

as I can but

Was that his car door?

“Kids? Get upstairs

Daddy’s home

and he smells funny…”

Code words.

See the difference?  You may get the same feeling but different imagery.

When you describe things, you allow people to relate to the objects, to recognize them as something they might have at home.  When you describe feelings, you get the words out of the way and use vague enough images to bring forth emotional responses.  Instead of picturing your clock, they picture their own or that of someone they know that is in a similar situation.  In the other case, they might picture a time when they knew they were going to miss the deadline and the consequences would be considerable.

So when you’re communicating, remember the purpose of your communication…is it to describe something physical?  or something emotional?  Then you can choose the means to most effectively describe what you’re trying to get across to your audience.

 

CW: Saltines, a horseshoe and a thumbtack…

Pregnant

Again!!!

I’m not ready

Oooo, that was bad, need saltines

My next appointment

a small card on the bulletin board

I pull the card

contemplate…crap just dropped the tack

Pick it…urp…run to bathroom

eat another saltine

take card back and tack it to bulletin board

eat another saltine

take a walk to my rose garden

enjoy breathing something

that doesn’t make me puke

5th time’s the charm…

Charm Hmmm

1st was St. Christopher medal

2nd was my old pet rock

3rd was a bunny foot

4th was early!  Shamrock at the last minute

This one kicks like a horse…

How about a horse shoe?

I don’t have a horse shoe…

How about a ballet shoe?

eat another saltine

 

Creative Writing Challenge: I am not your father

She flinched

He pulled back

I know you’re afraid

“You don’t know me!” she said vehemently.

I know you… you’re me

“I’m nothing like you!”

I used to flinch like that.

“So?”

I used to cry like that.

“So?”

I have scars like that.

“What?  Really?”

He used his belt, and his cigarettes.

“So?”

You miss him?

“…yes.”

I miss my father too.

“Why?”

Because he was what I knew.

I thought that’s what fathers did.

He said he loved me.

“Mine did too.”

I think my father liked the idea of me, and not really me.

I always disappointed him.

“Me too.”

Here’s a tissue.

“Thanks.”

I don’t know how long you’ll be here.

“I know.”

I will love you like my own kids.  You’ll see no marks on them.

“So?”

Give me your hands.

We can let that be our hug.

I’m not my father, and I am not your father…but I can be your Dad for a while.

 

 

Poor Jack

So of COURSE I watched “This is Us” after the Super Bowl.  Those of you who have not gotten sucked into this TV show, this is the gist of it.  Jack and Rebecca are pregnant with (OMG) triplets.  A newborn baby is delivered to a firehouse and abandoned.  One of the triplets doesn’t make it, and Jack and Rebecca take the orphaned baby home with them.  The newborn is black and Jack and Rebecca’s family is white.  The action takes place in the present when all the kids are now 37 years old.  Through the use of flashbacks and narratives, we discover the back stories of all the kids.  We know that their dad dies tragically.  We don’t know how but we’re given hints throughout the season.

Now EVERYONE loves Jack.  He’s wise, kind, funny and smart.  He’s adventurous and optimistic.  Even when we find out he’s an alcoholic, we forgive him and care about him.  He adores his kids and will do anything for them to make sure they become great adults.  Rebecca is also wise and smart.  She follows Jack into all sorts of adventures with no trepidation.  She’s brave and resourceful.  She cares deeply for all her kids.  She’s the mama bear you don’t want to cross.  Together they are dynamite!  They are the parents all of us want to be.  EVERY SINGLE ONE of their kids is screwed up.

Kevin is handsome and popular, and doesn’t think he’s worthy of praise and goes out of his way to sabotage himself.  He’s a talented football player that doesn’t work hard in school because he is a talented athlete and then is rude to the recruiter that comes to his house.  His knee then gets permanently damaged and his football career is over before it starts.  Because he didn’t care about his grades, he can not now get into college.  He marries his high school sweetheart, and then cheats on her.  She divorces him.  He realizes that he was stupid and tries to get back with her.  Then, at a reunion, he cheats on her again!  He’s in a very popular sitcom and blows up at the end of an episode because he is incensed that his audience doesn’t mind what he’s saying or what he’s doing as long as he has his shirt off.  Then he quits the show.  He’s in a movie with Ron Howard and Sly Stallone and due to an injury, he becomes addicted to Vicodin and alcohol.  He is honored at a HS reunion and doesn’t believe he deserves any recognition and has a melt down, and loses the necklace his dad gives him in the hospital when his knee was operated on.  He has another meltdown when the woman he had the one night stand with refuses to return his necklace.  He ends up getting and staying very drunk and goes driving with his niece who, without his knowledge, has sneaked into the back of his car.  He is remanded to rehab where, in a mandatory psychological session, he tells everyone what a horrible childhood he had…much to the surprise of the rest of his family.  He’s very fragile.

Kate is a big hearted girl with a gorgeous voice and the most beautiful face and smile.  She’s also 500 pounds.  She binge-eats junk food and convinces herself to hate herself.  It’s just easier to give up and listen to the nasty self talk than to change the self talk.  She meets an amazing guy, Toby, and is planning to get married.  She meets Toby at an Over-eater’s Anonymous meeting, so yes, Toby is also big.  (Shades of Mike and Molly…)  She has a miscarriage due to weight and age and that devastates her.    She’s very emotional and what she can’t handle, she compensates for by eating.  Kate is very fragile.

Randall is the black child in the white family.  Well THERE’S an issue.  But he’s a good kid, a gentleman, deeply caring about his brother and sister.  He’s extremely smart and successful in his work.  He’s always trying to fit in and sometimes tries too hard to please.  He has had 2 nervous breakdowns one of which is just 2 months before he delivers his first child in the living room and he’s cool as a cucumber as he does this!  He is always seeking perfection, and of course that’s not possible.  He is married with two beautiful daughters.  He tends to over-analyze everything and stress over everything.  He had brought his cancer riddled biological dad into his house after discovering him after a long search.  His dad had been a drug addicted, bisexual musician.  (There’s another issue!)  His biological dad dies during this first season.  He and his wife have bought the apartment building where his biological dad used to live, and he’s trying to renovate the place overnight.   Randall and his wife have become foster parents.  They’re taking in the kids that no one else wants–the older ones with problems.  Do you see a pattern here?  Randall is very fragile.

So these perfect parents, Jack and Rebecca, do all the right things when it comes to raising kids.  We all wish we could have had these perfect parents.  So why are all their kids screwed up?  Does that give us hope?  Even though we do everything right our kids might be train wrecks and it’s NOT our faults?  And yet…  Because they lose Jack when the kids are 17, could that be the fly in the ointment?  Well?  They were all showing signs of dysfunction in the flashbacks.  Randall had a notebook where he kept relationship notes not unlike Sheldon in Big Bang Theory.  He’s anxious and too eager to please even at an early age.  Kevin knows he’s popular and well liked and uses that to his advantage, but doesn’t develop well as a person.  For instance:  Kevin knows that his sister won’t get the most popular boy to hold her hand because she’s not thin like the other girls so he bribes the boy Kate wants to get close to with all his Halloween candy.  He feels that his mom prefers Randall because he’s the adopted one, and that Dad prefers Kate because she’s the girl and he feels like he’s on his own.  Kate, on the other hand, gets made fun of by her peers and then jumps in and agrees with their assessment.  She assumes the persona that is put on her by others while in elementary school.  She feels judged by her mom who tries to amend Kate’s fixation on food.  This grows to a feeling of her mom’s judgment on everything she does. All of these incidents happen when the kids are 8/9/10 years old.  So the signs of dysfunction are visible even before their marvelous dad, Jack, dies.

Could this mean that the Dr. Spock books are inaccurate?

Mmmmmmmmmm…could be.

Bubble wrap vs Kylo Ren

Kylo Ren has a problem.

Kylo is a master of the force; he has a big light saber with nasty hand guards that don’t apparently have any function; he has an unnatural fanaticism for his grandfather–Darth Vader; and he has a temper.  Now you have to understand that in the end, Darth Vader killed the emperor/Sith Lord to save his son.  He also gave up the Dark Side of the force and repented his evil ways.  Kylo has murdered the Sith Lord, Snoke, because Snoke threatened the girl he had been having “force initiated” conversations.  Someone called them Forceskype.  He totally wrote off the fact that Darth Vader denounced the dark side, and Kylo prefers to be the all-powerful voice-enhanced, shirtless wonder of the dark side of the force.  He’s all messed up.  Leia and Luke, the people he knew had the force, did not exhibit temper tantrums, and cool Han, the force muggle, didn’t either.  Vader, on occasion, would threaten violence in the form of a force choke hold, but until the emperor, he didn’t destroy property or murder people in a fit of pique.  So how did he come upon this terrible behavior?

My theory is that when he was little, nobody gave him bubble wrap.

“No Kylo, you can’t have the candy, it will ruin your dinner!”

*Popping noises*

“OK Mom.”

“Congratulations Kylo!  You got an A- on the spelling test!” says the teacher

“An A MINUS?!”  

*Popping noises*

“Which word did I miss?  I’ll get it right in the spelling bee…”

“Kylo hurry up!  You’ll be late for your Jedi classes with Uncle Luke!”

I hate Jedi classes, and I don’t like Uncle Luke much either.”

“You want to have control over that force don’t you?”

*Popping noises*

“I guess.  I’ll just get my shoes on.  I’m coming.”

“Don’t forget to smile for your school picture!”

The thing is, there are so many times when if we had bubble wrap, the urge to kill, maim, fire bomb, or sing opera would simply fade away.

“Let’s create a planet killing Death Star!”  *pop pop pop*  “Or not…”

“Let’s destroy this whole village of Resistance supporters!”  *pop pop pop* “or just take all their bubble wrap.”

“Luke, I am your…” *pop pop pop* “What on earth are you playing with boy?  Pay attention to me when I reveal earth shattering news!”  *pop pop pop*  Darth cuts of Luke’s hand anyway.

What if Hitler had had bubble wrap?  “Let’s invade Poland!”  *pop pop pop* “Why am I hungry for loud breakfast cereal?”

Attila the Hun?  “Ok, let’s just take these elephants over the Alps.  They won’t be expecting us from…??  What’s that stuff?  It looks like fun! *pop pop pop*

Demon to Devil, “Oh look!  God has made humanity!”

“Well let’s see how we can mess this up.  Hey Eve!  You want this nice shiny delicious fruit?”

*pop pop pop*

“Eve?”

*pop pop pop*

“Adam?  Aren’t you just a smidge hungry?”

“Yo Eve baby!  You got some more of that divine bubble wrap?”

“Ya hon.  It’s over there by the monkeys.”  *pop pop pop*

Every serial killer ever–

“I feel the urge… the urge to purge!  There’s a like likely victim!  Come here little girl…What do you have there?”  *pop pop pop*  “?  Give me that.”  *pop pop pop*  Little girl skips down the street.

There’s something addictive about popping those little bubbles.  It soothes the soul.  It distracts the mind.  It is destruction that doesn’t leave a mess.  It is noise without pain.  It’s just so darned fun!  Think of the fun they could have at estate dinners!  Think of the summit meetings!  Think of the State of the Union Addresses!  If the democrats had had any imagination, they would have put whoopee cushions in the seats so every time the president got the republicans to stand up, when they sat down…  And the democrats would not have had to applaud, they’d just *pop pop pop* and the president would mistake it for applause.  And if anyone didn’t like a particular part of the speech, they’d just start popping and drown it out.  Think of the UN Security Council meetings.  The Chair recognizes the esteemed representative from the Iranian Empire. *pop pop pop*

“Deputy Director of Operations, CIA, sir…  we have found the terrorists!”

“What have you done?”

“We dropped 300 pounds of the small gauge bubble wrap on them.”

“Do the liberals know?”

“Doesn’t matter.  We dropped 350 pounds of the bubble wrap on them about the same time.”

In conclusion, we can only speculate, but even our worst case scenario would suggest that the final tally would read:  bubble wrap 1, Kylo Ren 0.  Case closed.