It’s all about love

I like and am grateful for the part of me that cries while watching movies like the one I watched this morning, for the third or four time, “Love Actually.” I needed a break from a patch of particularly grueling and somewhat consuming writing. A beautiful break it was too! I still have the tear streaked cheeks to prove it.

This 2003 British movie directed by Richard Curtis and too many delightful (and really good) actors to name is, some would say, sentimental, certainly romantic, maybe even corny….but you know what? I love sentimental and I love romantic and I love corny.  And, I love watching people’s dreams come true. It makes me, in a word, happy. Love is always part of happy.

Love answers to its own timing. It is not beholden to any age group or economic class or culture and it cannot be fabricated. Like sunlight and moonlight, love really is everywhere.

To the skeptics and naysayers who poo-poo this kind of thing, who think it or label  as somehow being less worthy, of less artistic value, say, than a movie of gut-wrenching content and proportions, I say, Phooey!

Love and dreams coming true are as much a part of life as anything else. And, like love, I don’t  for a moment think creativity is beholden to any age group, economic class, or culture. It cannot be fabricated. Creativity answers to its own timing – just like love.

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No more pipe dreams: a sketch in words

There was almost a gentleness to knowing the balance of his life had come down to nothing but the words he wrote on a page. Nothing, more or less, save, of course, for the blessedly endless supply of books to read. Such was his love of reading that he knew, in the end, if he was aware of its arrival, a deep ache-sadness at not having read all he’d wanted to read would be present.

Not sad, so much, this truth. So many around him seemingly spinning in place or out of control (held up to the light at the right angle this could indeed be redundant) in their misery. The chase for the material, gullible minds digesting to the point of blind and foolish faith that wealth meant joy and happiness. In short, pipe dreams.

Leaning back in his chair with a cup of tea, a brief and admittedly cursory self-examination led him to conclude he was free of pipe dreams.

No more pipe dreams. Reality for me, he thought.

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Walkin’ whisper dreams

Walk me soft stepping rhythm

Someone sees shifting soft

Times worth knowing

Chanting up the drive

Walkin’ whisper dreams


Sadness fades early morning’s

Hinting sun blooms shape shifting

Love dancing on the bridge sings

Hope comes rising

Walkin’ whisper dreams


Deep bass drives soul center true

Treble ripples  surface waters

Waves split blue gray white

Spread grains of sand walkers

Walkin’ whisper dreams


Dreams knocking on distant doors

Where secrets still hidden

Beg for freedom’s freedom

Beyond history’s call I’m

Walkin’ whisper dreams


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Loyalty in the cross hairs

Nothing unique in saying the beginning of a year is a time of reflection, planning, gauging possibilities, setting a goal or two, among other things. For reasons I’m not inclined to study closely, I found myself thinking about a conversation  I once had with a close friend of mine. Obviously the following is not verbatim, but it certainly captures the essence of things.

Close friend: Why do you stay loyal to people that are not in your life and have in one way or another wounded you?

Me: Well, I don’t stay loyal to everyone who has been in my life but the ones you are talking about are people who, if one knew their history, have been badly wounded in life. Parents dying way too soon, spouse dying, a victims of violent crime, abuse, and so on. It’s not lost on me how desperate one can become when all hell breaks loose so I let them know, if that happens, I’ll be there.

CF: But some of these folks have been pretty nasty to you. Callous, flat out mean at times.

Me: That doesn’t mean I don’t genuinely care about them. Also, the fact I’d help someone in no way means I’ll let them back into my personal life. Only if they own their wounding treatment of me and apologize would I consider that.

CF: But still, why the loyalty?

Me: Because few if any are all one thing. And the few people I retain this loyalty for have qualities to their character that in my mind make them rather extraordinary. I care about them. Having said that, they’d be foolish – anyone would be, actually – to mistake my niceness or my compassion for weakness. I won’t put up with nastiness or dishonesty aimed at me. Doesn’t matter who’s doing the aiming.

CF: But wouldn’t you feel taken advantage of?

Me: The thing is, it’s not about me, it’s about someone getting through a patch of hell in their life. I’ve been on my own, completely on my own, since I was 15. Facing the trauma life dishes out alone is brutal. If one of these people were in crisis and reached out to me, I’d find turning my back on them far more unbearable to live with than helping them.

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Books read 2014

  1. “The Brothers Karamazov,” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  2. “Oh What a Paradise It Seems, by John Cheever
  3. “Back to Blood,” by Tom Wolfe
  4. “Charles Dickens His Tragedy and Triumph” by Edgar Johnson
  5. “Master and Commander,” by Patrick O’Brian
  6. “Still Life with Bread Crumbs,” by Anna Quindlen
  7. “The Waterworks,” by E.L. Doctorow
  8. “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens
  9. “Marry Me: A Romance,” by John Updike
  10. “Saint Maybe,” by Anne Tyler
  11. “Bech” A Book,” by John Updike
  12. “Post Captain,” by Patrick O’Brian
  13. “Villages,” by John Updike
  14. “H.M.S. Surprise,” by Patrick O’Brian
  15. “The Best Times: An Informal Memoir,” by John Dos Passos
  16. “Tolstoy: A Russian Life,” by Rosamund Bartlett
  17. “The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens,” Frederick W. Dupee
  18. “The Chimes” by Charles Dickens
  19. “Suttree” by Cormac McCarthy
  20. “Dry Bones in the Valley,” Tom Bouman
  21. “The Troubled Man,” by Henning Mankell
  22. “Faceless Killers,” by Henning Mankell
  23. “The Man from Beijing,” by Henning Mankell
  24. “Jar City,” by Arnaldur Indrioason
  25. “The Garner Files: A Memoir,” by James Garner
  26. “The Dogs of Riga” by Henning Mankell
  27. “Sidetracked,” by Henning Mankell
  28. “The Fifth Woman,” by Henning Mankell
  29. “The White Lioness,” by Henning Mankell
  30. “One Step Behind,” by Henning Mankell
  31. “The Man Who Smiled,” by Henning Mankell
  32. “Sweet Thunder,” by Ivan Doig
  33. “Italian Shoes,” by Henning Mankell
  34. “Firewall,” by Henning Mankell
  35. “Tea-Bag,” by Henning Mankell
  36. “A Treacherous Paradise,” by Henning Mankell
  37. “An Event in Autumn,” by Henning Mankell
  38. “What’s Bred in the Bone,” by Robertson Davies
  39. “Before the Frost,” by Henning Mankell
  40. “The Return of the Dancing Master,” by Henning Mankell
  41. “The Mind’s Eye,” by Hakan Nesser
  42. “Woman with Birthmark,” by Hakan Nesser
  43. “Borkmann’s Point,” by Hakan Nesser
  44. “The Return,” by Hakan Nesser
  45. “The Inspector and Silence,” by Hakan Nesser
  46. “Munsters Fall” by Hakan Nesser
  47. “Regeneration,” by Pat Barker
  48. “Sun and Shadow,” by Ake Edwardson
  49. “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” by Stephen L. Carter
  50. “Never End,” by Ake Edwardon
  51. “Frozen Tracks,” by Ake Edwardson
  52. “Sail of Stone,” by Ake Edwardson
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