WHICH ONE OF ME IS ME? – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #5

Behind the words for this prompt is a blurry, but genuine picture of a rare Pileated Woodpecker, the “you better believe it” Woody Woodpecker. I have seen this guy a few times and they are rare, but we have one living in our woods. He doesn’t come to the feeder. I’ve seen him working on a nearby tree and this time, I saw him fly past the deck and deep into the woods. I have a 900-mm lens on this camera, but that Woodpecker was WAY back in the woods and there were a million twigs and branches in front of him. So this is as good a picture as I could get. It’s pretty blurry, but at least I can say with some surety that I’m not delusional. We really have a gorgeous Pileated Woodpecker living in our backyard. If ONLY I could focus on him!

Another sort of view of our Pileated Woodpecker.

Is there anyone who is the same all the time? I know I was different at work than at home. Different at home than when out with friends. Different writing than not writing. Different talking to strangers than chatting with family.

Garry had two almost opposing personalities for work and non-work. He was aggressively outgoing in his professional life. He had to be because that was what the work required. Personally, he was quiet and sometimes shy, though over the years the two parts have fused and become more alike.

We all have more than one face, whether we realize it or not. I think writers notice it more than non-writers. One of the great joys of writing for me is having the opportunity to clean up reality. Not scour it smooth, but get rid of the dust on the edges and smooth out the lumps in the middle. I figure we all tidy up reality as we write.

This isn’t a diary. I see no reason to expose everything going on in my sometimes very wacko brain.

The writing “me” is a more thoughtful “me.” In real life, I’m crabbier and more tired. Writing is painless; reality isn’t. Real me is in a lot of pain most of the time and could use a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, real and writing me has a great sense of humor. Even when I believe I’m dying, the idea is too hilarious to ignore. I almost tore my newly reworked heart out because I couldn’t stop laughing. Did you know it really hurts to laugh after major surgery?

Besides, I can’t be dead. Who’d write my blog?

I work at not talking about what’s bothering me. No one likes a whiner. I don’t even like me when I whine, so I certainly don’t want to put it all into print.

Sadly, the pain is probably the thing I spend the most time cleaning up. I wish cleaning it up as a writer would make it go away for real.

What might be the most interesting change since I began blogging 7 years ago (without the foggiest idea of what I wanted to do — or why) is how much clearer I am in my writing goals. I know what I’m writing. I know what effect it will have. I even know when what I am planning to say is going to piss a lot of people off.

Sometimes, I just need to piss people off. It’s part of the wacko thing.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

29 thoughts on “WHICH ONE OF ME IS ME? – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. Mostly, I try not to complain a lot. It doesn’t help AND it doesn’t make me — or anyone else — feel better. Yes, you actually CAN see the big woodpecker. You know how on tv, they take a tiny piece of a picture and blow it up and you can see everything? It doesn’t work that way in real life. I spent the evening trying and those were as good as I got.

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    1. The big redheaded woodpecker is actually pretty rare, so I feel privileged to have one on my property. I wish he’d sidle up to the house and let me take his picture. Properly.

      I love your flowers. You have a great place for growing pretty much everything!

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      1. I do. And a great gardener to water them for me. I do some planting and trimming. All of the buying of plants and deciding where they go. I’ve earned this. Man, i used to spend hours everyday in the garden..and all my own housework, raising kids , writing and doing shows, making the art and curator of the art center. I do not know how i did it. The raising of kids full time was only a few years. That helped. Now I can barely get the blogs done, animals fed and house organized. Very little art, some socializing and travel.

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        1. I can’t imagine how I actually WORKED. I have NO time for work. I barely have time for fun!

          In my house in New York, I didn’t have any curtains. I had HUGE windows and all of them were completely covered by growing plants. I had HUNDREDS of them. I started with a handful given to me by a friend who said “Put them in a window. Water ONLY when dry.” A year later, not only had they propagated, but I would come home from work and find cuttings on my porch. Total strangers brought me cuttings. Eventually, I bought a little hose I attached to the kitchen sink so I could water them all in less than a full day, but I was always cutting and tweaking and re-potting, dividing et al.

          One day, I decided to divorce Jeff, move to Israel and do something else with my life. In Israel, I only had a few hundred plants and all lived outside on the balcony. The climate was very Arizona.

          Everything was a cactus, a petunia, or a geranium. These were only plants that could tolerate that much intense sun. When I got back here, I didn’t want to spend all my time running an indoor nursery. So I got a few little plants that got insanely huge. I’ve given away a lot of giant plants to people who had somewhere to put them. I’m back to small again. I think I’m sticking to things that don’t grow so tall … and I’m carefully NOT building plant racks and shelves, though my son delivered hooks and ropes the other day. I think he’s decided I need more plants. He, Garry, Tom, and my friends Ben and Cherrie are the only people who remember I used to live IN a nursery.

          I never thought of myself as having a green thumb. I just knew what did well and chose to grow things that did well in my environment. But you know? I always knew which way was north, south, east, and west because I had to know where to put each type of plant. You don’t really forget things. They just get stored in your external brain storage units 😀

          I wish I had someone to take care of the gardens. My outdoor gardens are sadly neglected.

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          1. We have those in this area too, though I’ve never seen them. They may not live in my particular woods. We have a lot of regrown forests here. This was once farm country, but the farmers moved to the midwest where the land is fertile and flat and the trees simply grew back. We are returning to a wildness — birds and critters — that we had more than 200 years ago. The bears are back, too.

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  1. I started writing my blog as a means to perfect my writing and story telling. It quickly evolved into connecting with other writers and for me has become fundamentally a part of my day. I love reading your and other blogs, I love the humour and knowledge and wisdom portrayed here and it has given my life purpose in a lot of ways. I’m so glad your here, Marilyn, you and several others.

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    1. I tried to clear it up but it was simply too fuzzy. It wasn’t the distance but that I was shooting through a lot of twigs and limbs and branches. The camera could not cut through that much interference. But at least I did get something and I have some proof the bird really does live here!

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