Monday, February 28, 2011

A Cure for Us All

I watched Charlie Sheen on the Today Show this morning.  The guy's got issues.  And a big ego that's keeping him from being in touch with reality.

He claims he's cured but he's still going to have a glass of champagne because that's what we celebrate with.  Really?  And all the Alcoholics Anonymous bashing.  It is really necessary?

I gave up alcohol with out the help of AA but that's not possible for everyone.  Richard's been sober for 11 years also without the help of AA.  But that doesn't mean we both didn't have to do a tremendous amount of soul searching.  The conversations with God are frequent and without a deep trust and faith in Him, I wouldn't have lasted even this long.  I don't keep track of the day I stopped or have a birthday or collect coins like someone in AA but I do know this.  The thought that I'd like a glass of wine pops into my head almost daily and I've been totally and completely sober for almost ten months.

So Charlie Sheen, don't brag that you're cured.  And don't bad mouth AA.  It's a fine, wonderful organization that helps millions of people find peace, love and harmony in their lives.  You may not believe it can work for you, but there is one think I know for a fact.  Sobriety is a long and winding road no matter how a person chooses to deal with it.  Different paths work for different people.  And I thank God every day He set me on the one that was meant to work for me.

Charlie Sheen, you have a lot of work left to do.  First off stop using your celebrity to spout off just because you can.  And don't for one minute think you can dabble in drugs and alcohol while calling yourself cured.   If you don't want to go to AA, then don't. But don't label it as useless when it clearly brings peace to so many.

I hope you find what works for you, I truly do.  Drugs and alcohol are a crutch that keep us from living life to our full potential.  What's in front of you may be even more amazing that what's behind you.  But I'll bet you haven't yet found the path that works for you.  Keep looking. And start praying.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates

I'm a big fan of the actual Falls, Niagara that is.  I grew up practically in The Falls backyard yet never made the trip to see them until a couple years ago.  It's a place that's engraved in my psyche.  A friend of mine knowing how much I love The Falls sent me some pictures from 1911 when The Falls were completely frozen over and people went to walk on them. Pretty fascinating stuff. I guess no one worried about slipping on the ice, breaking a leg and suing back then.   And in case you didn't know, there's always a rainbow at The Falls.

I loved this book.  Joyce Carol Oates certainly does know what she's doing.  The prose is brilliant, the characters superb.  Her ability to build tension is probably the finest I've ever read.  The Burnaby family however were all such tortured souls.  They lived and were legends in and around The Falls.  That's all I want to say about the plot.  It's well worth reading to find out what I mean.

I love reading the literary stories.  I love all the words, descriptions, dialogue.  I love getting lost in the characters lives.  The only thing that really bugged me about this book was that the questions that burned in my mind were never clearly answered.  And then I thought about them a little more.  No question any of us face in life is resolved clearly and specifically.  Ever. Other things simply happen that move us forward to where we're supposed to be.

The Falls is rated 4 out of 5 stars, well worth the time whether you're a Niagara Falls fan or not.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is Valentine's Day.  It also marks 24 years of wedded bliss for me and Richard. Amazing!

St. Valentine is a real saint whose feast day is celebrated on February 14th.  But no one really knows too much about him.  He did restore someone's sight but in the end he made some one really mad and was beheaded.

Kind of like love and certainly like marriage.  Falling in love makes our sight all rosy and glowing.  The other person can do no wrong, fulfills our every desire and each time we see that person again, it's like the first time.  And then life gets in the way.  A headache, PMS, losing a job, a fender bender in the car might make you feel like chopping his or her head off.  Now I understand why St. Valentine is the saint of love.

I know that through 24 years we've both experienced all of those emotions and then some.  We've taken the ups with the downs, screamed, yelled, bit our tongues and loved each other throughout the roller coaster ride called marriage.  We no longer need to send flowers or candy or cards.  We simply love that the entire world is decorated in shades of red and pink just for us on our special day.

And even though we don't need to buy each other gifts, Richard likes to sneak one in anyway.  What did he buy me this year?  This morning on my desk I found a 5 inch tall beautifully carved, red marble heart.  It's gorgeous.  It's a bookend. And I often think he doesn't understand my love affair with books.  He does.

I love you, honey!!  Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Inspiration

Yesterday I read a column in the USA Today by Craig Wilson.  His pieces appear each week and I love his tales of life.  On this day he thanked his high school English teacher for inspiring him to become a writer.

So I started to think.  Who or what had inspired me to write?  Hmmm.  I'd never really thought about it.  Writing simply came to me during my mid-life crisis.  I was turning 50 and started to realize I wanted something more out of life than the 9 to 5 grind up the corporate ladder.  Sure that job afforded me a beautiful home, a new car  and wonderful vacations around the world.  Deep inside I wasn't satisfied and out of the blue I turned to writing.

But did this really happen out of the blue?  An idea for a book has been stuck in my head since I was very young.  The story is of two childhood friends who go off to college and end up on very different paths.  It's titled, Red Rover, after the childhood schoolyard game where one team calls a person from the other and they attempt to run over and break through the hands of the opposing team so they can steal a player and return home.  One friend being very athletic is highly desired in this activity, the other being a klutz, is not. I haven't written a single word of this book yet I know quite well how it all plays out.  And I've known it for years.

I thought a little harder because now I'm curious as to where my inspiration truly came from.  And now I think I've got it.  I grew up in a time without email or texting or cellphones.  I was taught to write letters to relatives thanking them for Christmas gifts.  Once my parents took a trip to Europe and I wrote them letters on thin parchment paper that folded itself up into it's own envelope for mailing.  When I spent my summers away from my best friend, we corresponded daily.  Receiving and reading a letter filled my heart with joy.  Writing a response I thoughtfully created, satisfied my soul.

The one comment I remember however was from my grandmother.  After receiving what must have been a particularly newsy and appreciative thank you note from me, she wrote back, "Linda, you write a beautiful letter."

My inspiration.  Thanks Grandma!

City of Thieves by David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff It's World War II in Leningrad, Russia.  17 year old Lev elected to stay behind in the city when h...