Avetts in October #14: Telling Stories

 

 

 

 

“…if you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.”-   From Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

According to Ray I must be a whole writer. I have love. I have fun. I have zest and gusto, though not every single time I sit down to face the page.

This zest, gusto, love, and fun are what come shining through when I hear The Avett Brothers. They inspire me. They have fun when they are sharing their gifts with others. Their lyrics illuminate the good and bad all around us. With love.

And they tell stories, as in  The Ballad of Love and Hate

It begins like this:

 

Love writes a letter and sends it to hate.

My vacation’s ending. I’m coming home late.

The weather was fine and the ocean was great

And I can’t wait to see you again.

 

Hate reads the letter and throws it away.

“No one here cares if you go or you stay.

I barely even noticed that you were away.

I’ll see you or I won’t, whatever.”

 

And tells such a story, ending with:

 

Love has been waiting, patient and kind.

Just wanting a phone call or some kind of sign,

That the one that she cares for, who’s out of his mind,

Will make it back safe to her arms.

 

Hate stumbles forward and leans in the door.

Weary head hung down, eyes to the floor.

He says “Love, I’m sorry”, and she says, “What for?”

“I’m yours and that’s it, whatever.

I should not have been gone for so long.

I’m yours and that’s it, forever.”

 

And here’s a cute video…

 

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Wise Purchases

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I don’t always make wise purchases. Like the time I got gallons of peachy paint only to get them home and realize it would make my house look like Publix.

Or the time I went along with my husband’s idea of buying a double kayak, which he went out in with me maybe three times in the water behind our house. It was too large for me to tote anywhere on my own and we eventually ended up selling it to someone who bought it as a graduation gift for her son.  I don’t remember whatever became of all the peachy paint.

But, I want to tell you about three things that WERE wise purchases and have and still are serving me well.

First is my trusty backpack. I have had it for 15 years and it’s still going strong. It was first purchased for a trip to Ireland, and has been put to use ever since for hiking, carry-on for plane flight, trips with grandkids, to the library, and even to work some days. It’s thin enough to flatten in the bottom of a suitcase it needed. I purchased it from the Rick Steves website, where you can find the updated version.

Second is my Brita water bottle. I’ve had it for about three years, not sure exactly. I actually found it marked down at Publix, but it can be ordered online. It goes with me when I travel. I take it empty through security, then fill it on the other side at a water fountain.  I’ve ordered refill filters via amazon. It’s also used when I hike.

My most recent wise purchase is a hiking stick. I ordered it for hiking, but soon after had knee surgery. I used it to hobble around at work for a short while and now use it whenever I hike up and down any inclines. It’s super lightweight and folds up into its own little bag.

Today I await delivery of what I hope is another wise purchase – a new laptop.  I don’t have a desktop, so it IS my desktop.  My old one (Asus) has served me well but in laptop years I think it’s older than me. If it’s like dog years it’s 70. I use my chromebook (Lenovo now) on a very regular basis, but there are somethings I just can’t do on it, such as edit photos. I’m excited to see if this purchase (Lenovo) will magically improve my writing and photography skills. Time will tell.

 

Thoughts inspired by MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY

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This is the third book I’ve read by Fredrik Backman. Not sure if this or A Man Called Ove is my favorite.  This one is story with lots of characters, which gives me hope for the book I’ve written that all is not lost. It’s main character is a child, but every character is a rich part of the story.

“…. because the people who reach the end of their days must leave others who have to live out their days without them.” — Frederick Backman

There is death in this story, but it it necessary for the story, just like in our lives. I am living out my days without a number of people who I wish were till here. I wish Cathy was here because her sense of adventure and love of music matched mine. I wish Debbie was here to leave me long, drawn out messages on voicemail. I wish Betty was here to enjoy watching me eat Key Lime pie and to tell us that “Larry says Hi!” And that Larry was here to say Hi and listen because he was always interested in everybody. I wish Charlie was here to teach E how to fish.

I wish Mamaw was here so I could ask her about what happened in 1938. I wish Great-Aunt Marie was here because where she was love was. And I’d even like to hear her burp again. I wish Dad was here to teach his great-grandkids all his nonsensical sayings. I wish Mom was here for so many reasons, I can’t even begin. So I’ll just say she was the one who always asked how Loretta was doing. And she would have liked Ruby just as much.

So I live out my days without them. I take Ruby now on my adventures and listen to lots of music with my husband. I think of Betty every time I have Key Lime anything. I’ve reached out to other relatives, some of whom I only recently met, to ask about 1938 and many other things. My brothers and I carry on with Dad’s sayings, and Mom’s jokes. But my voicemail still stays pretty empty.

 

Mom

80a

April, 2016

 

Mom was born April 9, 1936. She would have been 83 today. It’s been 14 months since she died. So many little things happen throughout the days that knock me back, that remind me over and over that she isn’t here. I wrote the following poem in April, 2010. It was the first year I completed the PAD Challenge. I never really shared my poetry with her. Haven’t really shared it with anyone much in my family. Perhaps I should apply these words of Ray Bradbury…

“Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art.”

 

Mother

There at the end of the line
The hand of my dear mother
Her sweet comfort, it was mine

Never a woman so fine
There is not another
There at the end of the line

Her spirit, gentle, kind
None else would I rather
Her sweet comfort, it was mine

Growing round her like a vine
Myself, my brothers
There at the end of the line

So lovely, so divine
No, there is no other
Her sweet comfort, it was mine

For days of old I pine
Yes, one after another
There at the end of the line

Maclaren on Micah 6:8

 

 

At the end of last year I discovered Alexander Maclaren, a Scottish minister who pastored in England.  He lived from 1826-1910 but what he had to say is still so relevant today. His practical yet insightful way of putting things reminds me of a pastor friend of mine in St. Augustine, Eric Watkins. I think if they had been contemporaries they would have been great friends.

 

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

“Micah…wages war against that misconception of sacrifice, but does not thereby protest against its use. One has heard people say,  ‘We are plain men; we do not understand your theological subtleties; we do not quite see what you mean by “Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ. To do justly and to love mercy , and to walk humbly with my God, that is my religion, and I leave all the rest to you.’ “

I am afraid that I am guilty, if not of voicing this, of thinking along these lines. I often want to hide behind the simple when the complex is too hard for me.

‘To do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God’ is possible only through repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘To do justly’, that is elementary morality in two words. There must be mercy as well as the justice.”

The minimum according to Maclaren:

  • “…give everybody what he has a right to, including mercy to which he has a right,
  • to have a lowly estimate of myself
  • to live continually grasping the hand of God
  • to be conscious of His overshadowing wing at all times
  • conformity to His will at every step of the road…”

“To think of God’s requirements, and of my own failure, is the sure way to paralyze all activity…” . This is often the take-away after Sunday morning sermons where I’m told what I should be doing and left feeling there is no way I am living up to the standards given.

“The gift of God is Jesus Christ and that gift meets all our failures.” 

“His last word to us is not ‘Thou shalt do’ but ‘I will give’  We have not to begin with effort; we have to begin with faith.”

All words in quotations are Maclaren’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rome and the USA

St Augustine caravaggio

Caravaggio 1600 “Saint Augustine”

 

I am so ignorant of history, but in reading The City of God by St. Augustine, the comparison of the Untied States to Rome sometimes just jumps out at me. For instance:

“At that time, it was their (Rome) greatest ambition to die bravely or live free; but when liberty was obtained, so great a desire of glory took possession of them, that liberty alone was not enough unless domination also should be sought”

and this:

“I do not think that is was by arms that our ancestors made the republic (Rome) great from being small…But it was other things than those that made them great, and we have none of them: industry at home, just government without, a mind free in deliberation, addicted neither to crime nor lust. Instead of these, we have luxury and avarice, …; we laud riches, we follow laziness; there is no difference made between the good and the bad. And no wonder, when every individual consults only for his own good, when you are the slaves of pleasure at home, and in public affairs, of money and favor, no wonder that an onslaught is made upon the unprotected republic.” Cato, as quoted by St. Augustine

more from Cato:

“… the only time at which there existed a just and modern administration was after the banishment of the kings…afterwards the fathers oppressed the people as slaves, flogged them as the kings had done, drove them from their land…”

Kinda puts a different spin on “Make America Great Again” doesn’t it?

Case Cutters

The prompt for PAD Day 4 was Case ______. This isn’t my best work, but I can’t help but think there are others out there that feel the way I do on the topic.
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Case Cutters

There is something about a case cutter
That gives me the heebie-jeebies
Give me a knife any old day
I can handle an ax or a hatchet
Scissors are simple
Toe nail clippers a breeze
But keep those case cutters
Away from me