I Find Reading About Neurology Helps Me Feel Better About Myself.

I just finished “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande and now I am reading, “The Man Who Wasn’t There, Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self”  by Anil Ananthaswarmy. The first made me feel a lot better about my mother’s death, which was a “good death” all in all. He makes reference to several other books which put me on another path of reading, hence “The Man Who…”

“Thinking Fast and Slow” is the next one I hope to get from the library although I am 369th on a waiting list.

I have had a few experiences and I possess a few patterns, at times frightening and other times  wonderful . But I have never enjoyed being “odd” or “weird” except perhaps when I finally gave up trying and just practiced Zazen and Tai Chi a lot. It is exciting for me to learn that neurology is coming up with some very neat connections; New ideas that sometime sound like Buddhist psychology, Zen, Shinjin.  🙂

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There are a lot of things to feel sad about. — Seriously Clowning Around

 

Originally posted 2010

A few years ago I had just gotten out of the hospital when I learned of the tsunami that hit South East Asia. I remember thinking, wow, the earth is way more upset than I am. I had started crying for no reason and could not stop so I checked in to the hospital after not […]

I am very sorry for those affected by the shootings on the Danforth in Toronto. I was heading away from the Danforth to my home in Scarborough a short time before this and went to bed without ever a thought that this could happen, especially in such a friendly neighbourhood…

via There are a lot of things to feel sad about. — Seriously Clowning Around

Being Wrong

I got in an argument when I was a kid about whether a certain plant was poison ivy. I was certain it was a Trillium that was not yet flowering.  “So rub your face in it!” was her response.  I did. I was wrong. Boy was I wrong.

We all hate finding out we are wrong.  We might enjoy the humiliation of someone else, especially a blow hard being proven wrong or laugh at the slap-stick that a wrong premise can lead a character to repeat over and over. We recognize it because we have all known that often uncomfortable realization.

The thing about being wrong, as Kathryn Schulz author of “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” points out, it feels just like being right. Until we find out we are wrong we can feel pretty good.

Then, after we realize we are wrong we might continue to act as if we are right because we think we have too much to lose by making such an admission.

On the other hand we can believe that they are so wrong we have to bring them to justice, or to the court of public opinion, or just remind them, frequently. We can even feel pleasure from this punishing of others for their stumbles. It is unfortunate because we will be wrong again too.

Being wrong is part of being human. How a character in a fiction deals with the realization and all its ramifications can drive a story but in real life, it is an opportunity for us to learn and grow as a human being, and in real life we get lots of opportunities. Lucky thing because learning to be an adult human being is what your all too human life is about. It really is.

 

Being Past Middle-Age (Old)

lastpeonies

 

I don’t think I agree with Mr. Sedaris when he says:

Though there’s an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age. The only perk I can see is that, with luck, you’ll acquire a guest room.

and as per usual I read the line incorrectly at first as “There ARE A FEW real joys”. Ooops. There are many draw-backs to aging but I have found there are a few, very real joys. Acquiring a guest room speaks of many things, financial things, years of acquiring security, home and also friends. These things are indeed things to be pleased about. But the greatest joys I am finding, and I am past middle-age, are in being less observed and more observing, needing less and appreciating more, and feeling less expectation (and maybe more love).

These days I am having very wonderful conversations sometimes on public transit with people who I would probably never have had an opportunity to talk to previously in my life. I am not sure why this is happening more often but it might be that I am not always looking at the floor and listening to a podcast or reading a book or sleeping or avoiding eye contact, but I also think it is because I am over sixty, completely non-threatening and usually, if I am going somewhere, pretty happy.

I am at a point in my life where I can contribute a bit to those in my life but no one is entirely dependent on me. While I am hardly noticed unless it looks like I might need to sit down, I can notice all sorts of things.

A week ago I ended up talking with a woman at length, a bus and two subways worth, after an unleased dog ran at the fence to the school yard his owner had let him run in, barking rather ferociously at her. (I tend to be really scared of running dogs since having been bitten). I wanted to calm her (and myself) so I said something like, “Scary huh?” She said she had a lot of experience with dogs growing up in Jamaica and she had a heavy purse. 😉

We talked about dogs, she likes them, I don’t much, and cats, she doesn’t like them, I do, and children and being grandmothers and what each of us thinks is the most important thing to learn (my favourite question). Along the way I mentioned that I had an auntie who had always made me feel special. We were discussing the importance for children to have a safe person who will always accept them and give them space to just be children, “like grandparents do” we said in unison.

I got to my stop on the subway after a long and wonderful conversation, learning her age and history and family and her beliefs while sharing mine. We were holding hands by this time. She said, “What is your name?” I told her and asked her for her name. “Opal” she said.

That was the name of my favourite auntie!

I find a lot of joy at my age.

Nobody loves your compost as much as you do…or do they?

I have spent a fair amount of time during my life being told that nobody wants to hear any of my crazy ideas. Maybe some click counting software figures out my interests and then throws out thinly veiled advertisments for those products that are sort of in-line with said interests making me believe that those crazy ideas are mainstream, but I resist falling for it. I really do. If I have learned anything in sixty years it is that I am not popular, I am not mainstream. I don’t mean that I am counter-culture either, or fringe or edgy. I am annoying. So I stopped going on and on about composting when I was at a parties years ago.

But it seems compost is a good subject for casual conversation. Sheesh. When will I ever NOT be a social pariah?

A Billion Tiny Flowers

I have been technology challenged for about ten years.  Before that I felt I could hold my own. Now, age, concussion and recently, ambivalence have led me to the shoals, the place where many older adults find themselves, muttering and cursing and occasionally exclaiming “YuReeek Ha!” as some colourful object washes onto our shoal and makes us happy.

I spent an entire weekend, possibly the nicest weekend of the summer trying to sort out why I could not longer watch television (Star Trek) or googly or putz on the various devices in my home! I must say here, if you are patient with the poor techies they are appreciative. I may not be able to defuse racist Nazis but my Zen practice has taught me to be attentive and patient while on hold.

Mostly I want to have Star Trek, any version, playing while I do my sewing. I could put on the radio but sometimes (gottalovem) CBC radio is just dumb and my stitches get tight while my mind boggles. (Star Trek is often dumb but it is Sci-fi, come on!)

Last night while falling asleep I realized my dreams were of a billion tiny flowers, each providing a context for perpetually opening complexity, which viewed as a whole was breathtaking. From my perspective they were the flowers of a quilt that I painstakingly was appliqueing one at a time, made of billions of threads of cotton, manufactured and dyed, all by human hands from plants grown in sunlight and with water and tended by more human hands on a beautiful planet spinning within spinning galaxies.

So as glitchy as these entertainments are from my point of view, some things, important and awesome, never change. 🙂

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Wheeeeel, Wheeeel, Wheeeel, BUTTERFLY!

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wilficecream

About Writing

 

 

Back in the good old days of Live journal I used it as my personal diary and sometimes forgot to click on “private” in the drop down so it was sort of like a Rear Window event only I was the victim or the murderer, not sure which.  I did share a lot of my attempts at writing fiction in that ghostly world of on-line journaling.  But it was unsubstantial, like a life that only happens when you are sleeping.

I recently gave my novella to a couple of friends and then to a woman who is a professional editor. She offered to give it a read and then an estimate for the edit…  This is about as REAL as I have gotten with my fiction writing beyond a few teen magazines when I was a teen and a cook book and short story anthology that I gave my oldest son.

btw, WHAT THE F*&K ARE EM DASHES?

forgive the brain fart

Here is what they have said:

  • Friend who makes her living writing, or a portion of her living, we will call her J.  “Hi Rio, I’m just starting to read your book. I love it! I don’t want to put it down!”
  • Friend who is very much the opposite of sanguine. Lets call her D.: “Hi my birth name, I’ve read half your story and here are the notes I jotted down while I was reading. (The majority are spelling mistakes.)”
  • The Editor, hence called “the editor”: I read the working name of my novella and found it very engaging. The storytelling is strong; you have a clear tone and good flow. I really like the stories within a larger story concept. You’ve created a dystopian environment that is still recognizable, and timely!” Then she said she would do it with suggestions for story for $1000 to $1200. I paid her $100 for the read and begged off for now.

Ack.  Should I go in debt to get this book published?  I am old.  Am I just an old fool?

I would say yes. I am an old fool. This morning I received my first phone call from my grandson. He is 1 1/2 years old.  He can say “Hi Nana” and his own name, and a bunch of adorable and clever things but when he gets tired of prompting he says, “whhheeeeeel, wheeeeeel, wheeeeeel” -which sounds like a British ambulance- and then, “BUTTERFLY!”

Gaud I wish I could do that when I feel overwhelmed by the pressure to do something awesome!  Oh, hey, I did!