Today

I just read the blog I wrote the day after the election last November.  It is awful and depressing and I feel worse today than I did then.  The shock has worn off, no longer dully protecting me from this deep and abiding grief that I cannot seem to overcome.  I am doing something I always wanted to do. I am a snowbird. I am in Florida for three months, where I rented an adorable little cottage that reminds me of nothing so much as our place in Maine.  It could be bigger and fancier, but it is not.  It’s small.  Cozy.  Beautifully located.  Minimal. The little porch stretches across the front, screens open on all three sides.  Walking distance from the beach and from the most quaint little downtown you will see anywhere.  And I am miserable.  I thought it might be better here but it is not.  There is not a lot to distract from what is happening to my country.  At least at home in Connecticut, I worked like a maniac. Worked and drove and slept and worked and drove and slept.  I didn’t have the time to fret and stew and wait for our fate to come crashing down upon our heads.  I look at the internet and follow the hearings on C-Span and watch my country collapse.  All my fears come true.  One after another.  I knew the day after the election I did not want to come here but I had made a good-size deposit and foolish me, I thought I might get better.  R&R.  I am a social creature and I love seeing people and laughing and socializing but I have a bit of the hermit in me as well.  I was looking forward to being by myself with my dog and my books, and seeing people when I wanted to.  I have been here since January 1 and I have not gone to the beach that is five blocks away, not one time.  I have gone there when it was cool and sat at a table and looked at the water.  A couple of times.  It was beautiful and noisy and peaceful.  But I have not thrown my book and a beach chair and my minty iced tea in the car and driven to the water.  And I feel bad about this.  I feel bad that I have become so weakened that I am giving my power to a crazy person and bunch of crazy sycophants, and a bunch of plain evil people.  And the longer this goes on, the more I blame people who voted for him.  I thought this might ebb but it has increased.  Anyone who cast a vote for this horrible little troll is a horrible little troll.  I don’t believe I will ever forgive any of them.  Unfortunately, they are taking me down with them.  Day by day, I see the evidence mount, and I realize how naïve I was before November 8.  I truly believed in my heart that people would do the right thing.  And they did not.

 

Sometimes, I feel little blips of hope.  I feel like I can do something and make a difference and stop this madness.  But I cannot.  Because unlike other elected officials, this insane narcissist does not give a fiddler’s fuck what one single one of us thinks, you know – except apparently Meryl Streep.  He seems to have been overly concerned with her.  I try and I try and I try and I can come out of this for short periods.  I have friends who have seen me laugh and joke.  I have beachy plans next week with a good friend and the week after with my nephew.  And I know I will feel good and be happy then.  And after that, I fear I will be exactly like I am today.

 

Someone said to me today, “I wonder sometimes if I am not seeing things as clearly as you do.”  And I am positive that is it.  I see this.  It is coming like the proverbial freight train.  I can’t stop it.  I am helpless in the path.

 

This is my life now.

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Take a load off, Susie!

Take a load off, Susie

I watched a movie yesterday.  The name of it was Peace, Love and Misunderstanding.  And you all know how I like to weave books and movies and life together into a neat, beautiful and highlighted French braid.  So here I go again…

http://www.ifcfilms.com/films/peace-love-misunderstanding

banner

This movie is about Forgiveness, one of my favorite themes, and was criticized for its “cheery insistence that everything is just super”.  Well these critics were wrong.  P,L&M may have the slight lavender-scented odor (or in this case reefer stench) of chick flick but everything was not super.  The Jane Fonda character – “hippie” Grace – had a very positive attitude toward all things and her estranged daughter character – straight-laced Diane – played by Catherine Keener, did not.

I have two mottoes by which I try to live my life.

1.  Attitude is everything.

2.  Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

P,L&M also starred Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Jude – an American Javier Barden doppelganger.  Sexy.  Sexy.  Sexy.  I will be looking for every movie this guy is in.  People!  You can have all the young pretty boys.  Give me these men any day of the week.

Javier-Bardem
http://thats-all-folks.com/celebrity-lookalikes-jeffrey-dean-morgan-and-javier-bardem/

There is a scene between Diane and Jude that goes like this.

Jude:    Did you ever consider letting it all go?
Diane:    Letting what go?
Jude:    The fight.  Yes.  Let it go.  Like a balloon floating away.  It’s not a balloon, it’s a sandbag you need to let go to get off the ground.

Another scene they stand together at a mike, obviously she is thawing by now, and sing The Band’s “Take a Load Off, Annie”.  The load is anger/the fight, folks.  And the guts of this movie is the forgiveness that a happier Diane finally bestows upon her well-meaning, idealistic mother Grace.  Diane lets go of the fight, and also literally – the balloon,  which is sappy indeed.  I admit it.  But let’s not pan the whole movie for one hokey scene which I’m sure that Grace, if she were real, would have loved.  Ultimately, Diane learns that trying to have a good attitude and trying to live positively is better than the cloudy, uncertain existence she has been living for 45 years.

CatJeff

I wrote a blog last September called Forgiveness.  Which I took down the next day.  Most people responded very positively but since it upset someone very much, I took it down.

In this blog, I said among other things…

I want to be a better person.  I try to be a better person.  I think – Am I doing the right thing?  Have I considered this from all sides?  Was I just unkind?  Did I remember to say thank you.  I’ll call him now and say thank you just in case.  Is that person having a spectacularly awful day and it is splashing on me?  What can I do to make my life better/OK/good even though this nimrod is trying to wreck my day/life.  And maybe I am taking things too personally.  Maybe someone who appears to be trying to wreck your life is so absorbed in their own misery, they don’t even realize what a god-awful thing they are doing to you.

So forgiveness.  I think the lack of it on my part may be the top thing that keeps me from being the best I can be.

And then I referred to My favorite activity – blaming myself for everything.

I want to forgive.  I want to not be mad about stupid things people do.

Forgiveness.  Being a better person.  I believe I should be above it all.  But I am not.  

I think without these thoughts, and with forgiveness, I could be a much better person – maybe closer to the good person I want to be.  And I’m not sure what to do about it.  Except to carry on.  And try.  But am I too hard on myself?  Am I too self-absorbed?  Do other people think like this?  Do other people wish they could forgive?  

And don’t get me wrong.  I’m a generally happy person with a pretty good life.  But I want to be better.  I want to be happy and sated, like a big fat smiling Buddha.  Peaceful.  There’s a Joni Mitchell song – The Same Situation and a line – Caught in my struggle for higher achievement.  This line describes my 50’s.  My sixth decade.  My struggle for higher achievement.  I want to be better .  I want to be more.  And I’m trying.

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Writing the original Forgiveness blog helped me a great deal.  I was laid off all last summer and didn’t post a single essay to WordPress from June 12 to September 3 because Forgiveness was bubbling inside me and blocking me.  So here I am taking a small run at it again.  I have spent more time thinking about forgiveness.  I always do.  And I’m doing better.  I have been accused of being incredibly naïve and I think that is somewhat correct.  I always expect the best from people.  I always think people are honest and true.  And that is not true.  But we must consider that when people close to us hurt us badly, they may not realize the deep gash they are making in our hearts.

You see, I continue to insist cheerily that everything is just super.  It helps.  Attitude is everything.

I’m out here, still trying to take the load off.

http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/thebigchill/theweight.htm

gandhi

Susan Glennis, Susan Isaacs and Glennis Maguire

So I went to a writing class with my friend April last Saturday.  I don’t think I learned anything new – it was a beginner class – but I did enjoy myself.  Loved the women leading the class.  If you want to know more about them – http://easthillwriters.com and http://www.annsheybani.com.

So anyhow – two hour class – our assignment was to write about a person, place or event from our childhood.  Just write anything about a subject for 10 minutes.  Don’t stop.  Free flow – stream of consciousness.  So I picked my maternal grandmother – Glennis Maguire.  My blog name – susanglennis.wordpress.com – my middle name – that’s where I got it.  I didn’t want to use my last name at the time I set up that blog – I would now but the susanglennis has grown on me.

We wrote for 10 minutes.  Then we went back and picked out our favorite parts – things that struck us, things that maybe we had not thought of before.

Here is some of what I wrote.

My grandmother made fabulous chocolate cake.

She was not what any of us would call a nice person.  She was mean.  When my mother was a child, my grandmother wanted her to cut her long hair.  My mother didn’t want to so under the guise of giving her a trim – my grandmother grabbed a huge hunk of her hair and hacked it off.  My mother ended up with a short haircut to even it up.  For my mother – just one in a long line of betrayals.  One of life’s cardinal rules broken – You should be able to trust your mother.

My grandmother made the same supper every night.  Fried hamburgers, boiled potatoes, canned peas – shriveled and gray and mushy.  Once in a great while on Sunday, she made oyster stew.  This “stew” consisted basically of milk, melted butter, canned oysters and pepper.

During one of my grandparents’ Christmas visits in Connecticut, someone they knew came to see them and said they would be stopping at my grandparents’ house in Maine for an overnight on their way north the following summer.  My grandmother went upstairs and got in bed and stayed there all the next day.  When I finally got her to tell me what was wrong, she said she didn’t want company to stop because she didn’t know what to cook.

My grandmother took naps.  These naps were a religious experience, like a priest and communion.  No one could make noise, no one could wake her up.  Dire consequences.  As a child, my mother was not allowed to go outside when a nap was going on.  She had to stay in and be very quiet.  I come from a long line of readers.  My mother went and got her book.  My grandmother made her stop reading while she was napping because the sound of the pages turning woke her up.  My mother sat there – a small child – not moving – not making a sound.

My grandfather was a kind man who teased his wife often, trying to cajole her into a good mood.  She didn’t like it.  She stood and screamed “I’m gonna get a knife and stab you right in the heart!”.  She said it like hot – she was from Maine.

The grandmother stories are endless.  At the writing class, one person wanted to know everything about her.  April didn’t want to hear anymore.  And I do have lots but I can truly say they don’t bother me anymore.  And also, although my grandmother was mean to most everyone, she was not mean to me.  I don’t know why.  Sun rising and setting in her first-born grandchild?  The old story about grandchildren and grandparents getting along so well because they share a common enemy?  The family dynamic.  But I was a pretty bright kid.  I was aware of the crap she was pulling, especially as it concerned my mother and grandfather.

My mother had no idea how to deal with her.  She spent a lot of time trying to please her mother, so she wouldn’t be unhappy or mean.  But this was not ever, ever going to happen.  And my mother was so confused by the whole thing, she never really figured out she couldn’t make her happy.  Some clarity has come to her over the last 20 years or so since her mother passed.  But she is scarred and in turn her children are scarred.  And are my grandmother’s great-grandchildren carrying some of the marks too?  I’m sure they are.

And I will take this opportunity to say I love my mother.  And my father.  I’m glad they are still here with me.  I believe they did the best job they could.  I’m way beyond blaming my parents for any of my shortcomings.  But people didn’t dissect their screwed-up childhoods back in the day.  They didn’t go to shrinks or take Prozac.  My grandparents were born in 1916 and 1917.  My parents were born in the 30’s and started reproducing at a very young age.  That is part of the reason they are still in my life, being 19 and 22 when I was born.

So on to Susan Isaacs.  I love her books.  She wrote one of my very favorites – Compromising Postions – link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Compromising-Positions-Susan-Isaacs/dp/B002PJ4HFI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361400478&sr=1-1&keywords=compromising+positions+by+susan+isaacs

There is a line in this novel – I can’t remember it perfectly and although I searched for it, I apparently cannot find it right now without rereading the whole thing.  But it is one of the reasons why I love this book, and Ms. Isaac‘s writing.  It is a mystery about a murdered Lothario who took pictures of his conquests in flagrante delicto, and the main characters – Judith and Nancy – see pictures of a woman with cylindrical produce protruding from her most special of orefices.  And one says to the other something like this – If we ever do meet her, you must remind me not to try her coleslaw.  Compromising Positions was Susan Isaac’s debut novel published in 1978.  I’ve read them all.  I have well-loved copy of this book.  All banged up.  Bent and held together with clear wide packing tape.

Another reason for my love of CP, Nancy refers to a mutual acquaintance as a “subanthropoidal horse’s ass“.  I had forgotten about that – used to use it often and will now start saying it again.

So Susan Isaac’s latest which I took out of the library last Thursday is titled Goldberg Variations.

http://www.amazon.com/Goldberg-Variations-Novel-Susan-Isaacs/dp/1451605919/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361556833&sr=1-1&keywords=goldberg+variations

This is the first of her books that is not very funny.  Not to me, anyway.  It is about a miserable grandmother and how she treats her family.  But I amused that these events came together – the writing topic and the book.  I’m sure I subconsciously chose to write about my grandmother in that class because I knew this book was in my library pile.

So toward the end of Goldberg Variations (page 246), Gloria’s grandson Matt thinks this and I quote –

“Gloria was definitely curious to hear what they were saying.  But there was something more with her, too. I didn’t know how I intuited this, and I could have been wrong.  Sometimes you got an insight into someone and you thought, Hey, I am so fucking perceptive.  And maybe it was true, you were.  Except wasn’t it equally possible that your observation was totally made up either to fulfill some need or because you really weren’t perceptive?  In fact, you were an ass and, like any ass, were too dumb to comprehend what you were.”

Perhaps a subanthropoidal horse’s ass.

Loved this quote. Something else for me to worry about.

Those of you who know me and/or have read very many of my blogs, are aware that I often immerse myself in introspection followed by self-flagellation.  So as a woman who spent six years in therapy, I am always searching for my weak spots.  What of Glennis Maguire has made it into her namesake, Susan Glennis?  Worry.  Worry.  Worry.  Laughing at self here.  Sort of.

When my grandmother died, as is customary, the minister sat and talked with us – my mother, my uncle Michael, my sister Katie and me.  We couldn’t think of anything really nice to say about my grandmother. The silence was, as they say, deafening.  We squirmed.  My uncle finally took him aside and told him the truth – our truth – what we all felt.  During her service, the minister said she was a woman who made her feelings known – something like that?  Then he said she made good chocolate cake.  That was it.  Nothing else.

Puppies, Kittens and Forgiveness

I took down Forgiveness.

My blogs are about me.  I wrote Forgiveness about the biggest hurts of my life.  But someone thought I had “really lost my marbles” and said I shouldn’t “wonder why my life is where it is”.  This single person’s reaction was really, I thought, over the top.

I purposely do not identify people in my blogs,  however blogs are not meant to upset anyone.  I consider them more to be emotional regurgitation – a way to clean out my mind, a way to communicate and hear from others who feel as I do, get some feedback.

There are a very few people, OK only one actually who has said so, who don’t like anything I have written.  And I don’t know why this person continues to read my stories.  When I’m pushing buttons in the car looking for something to entertain me, if I come upon Rush, I keep on going.  I don’t watch Fox News.  Not interested at all.  I don’t watch The Bachelor or that Donald Trump show.   Not interested.  I hear a show called Honey Boo Boo beat the RNC last week.  I did not contribute to either’s ratings.  I would hope the few people who read my blog would not continue to return to it if they weren’t enjoying it.  That wouldn’t make sense.

Now on to Puppies and Kittens.  I don’t want to write about them.  I want to write about me.  My good bad happy sad colorful boring exciting messy silly serious busy life.  Maybe I need to work on a memoir instead.  But I’ve always considered my blog posts pre-work, if you will, for a memoir.

Anyhow, as I said, I took her down.  Thank you to all of you who are so encouraging to me.  It means a lot.  And makes me happy, happier.