Published! I haven’t been published in a real magazine in years. Golly! THANK YOU JUDY YOU LOVELY LADY! If you need bigger type, you can read the original at: https://teepee12.com/2019/05/20/be-home-before-the-lights-come-on-marilyn-armstrong/
Considering one thing and another, I have always been sure I could not possibly be related to the people who raised me. I suspect everyone, especially as a child, is sure they are a misplaced orphan. Sadly, there was always one problem from which I could never escape.
I look just like them. Both of them. They didn’t look alike, so how could this be?
Apparently, you change as you age. So you can look exactly like dad when you’re three, but exactly like mom when you’re sixty. Periodically, depending on how the genetic package rolls, you can resemble one or the other — or both — at any given point in time.
I used to look like my father, but I got older. Now, look like my mother.
I wonder if I’ll ever look like me? Whatever that means.
I know nothing about what brought me into the world any more than I know what will take me out. Probably, that’s just as well. I think I lack curiosity about my fate which others apparently have a strong need to know. I never felt any serious desire to research my ancestry or get my DNA checked. When I did it, it was a fun birthday present for Garry and I.
Yet, every now and then, I wonder if it’s possible I was actually put here by a transiting starcraft. An intergalactic seed dropped from the sky that somehow, wound up in this world. In this peculiar place. A bit of pollen falling from a drifting craft on its way to somewhere in an infinite beyond.
It could be true.
This week’s provocative question deals with exaggerations, embellishments, and lies.
“How do you feel about people who always seem to exaggerate when relating a story? Do you equate embellishment with lying? As a blogger, when, if ever, is stretching the truth, other than when writing fiction, permissible?”
I think this is a question that has no bearing on writers because you are trying to draw a sharp line between “hard data” and “fiction.”
There is no such line. A myth is a story stretched out and exaggerated. Unless you are writing instruction — like a manual or the results of a scientific study — there’s no line nor ought there be one. Many “fictional books” are essentially true, but to make the story more readable, timelines are compressed and multiple characters are combined into one character.
That’s not lying.
That’s writing. That’s telling a story. That’s creativity. That’s what we are all about. It’s what we do. That’s why there’s no clear line between a “docu-drama” and “realistic fiction.” Why story-telling is an art and not a science.
I’ve written manuals and scientific studies. I did it for money. Those documents are fact-based and of necessity must be, but everything else is a story.
Blogging is what I do for fun. You are welcome to call it whatever you want, as long as I get to write in whatever form I choose. Once you start to define creativity, you effectively make it NOT fun anymore.
By the way … If you have a friend who exaggerates stories in which you were involved? You are welcome to interrupt him or her and add your piece of the adventure. Nobody ever said you have to sit passively by and just listen.
We have a president who lies. He says things are true that are not true and these things are supposedly based on facts. THAT is lying. But then again, I’m not the one standing in front of the American people promising to make it great again because I don’t know when it stopped being great.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
Sometimes, I’m wrong. But sometimes, even when I’m right, I should just shut up about it.
How did you meet your husband/wife or significant other? How did you know he/she was “the one”?
I met Garry at the college radio station at Hofstra College (we didn’t become a University until a few years later) in 1963. He was the Program Director and Jeffrey, who I married the following year, was the Station Manager. The two of them were best friends.
Now I’m married to Garry.
I always liked him and I found him VERY attractive. We used to meet for lunch when I worked in Manhattan. He worked at ABC, which was not far. We were friends for a long time … then we were more. Then I divorced Jeffrey and I moved to Israel. Garry wrote me every day for nine years.
We got married when I came back. I still wonder why it took so long, but he says he was married to his career and didn’t have time for a life. I’m not buying it.
If you could take a year-long paid sabbatical, what would you do?
Go someplace warm and friendly. Not hot. With some gentle water nearby. Bermuda, maybe. Or Corsica.
What is your favorite thing to buy at a movie theater concession stand? (credit to The Haunted Wordsmith for this one)
What are some Holiday Traditions you and/or your family observe in December?
We have a little tree we put up. On Christmas day, we are usually alone together and we watch old holiday movies. We used to have dinner with family, but I think this year, it will be just Owen. Our world seems to be shrinking.
BUT NOW THE DAYS ARE SHORT, RICH PASCHALL
When I was seventeen, it was a very good year…
When I turned seventeen, I had finished my Junior year in high school and was looking forward to the Senior year at a new school. It was a bit scary, I admit. No one wants to leave his mates behind and start again, but that was my fate, not my choice.
At least the new school was in the neighborhood, and I already knew a few students who were going there. Although we did not admit at the time, the final year of high school put many new thoughts into our heads.
You may think sex or sexual orientation, but those thoughts had already arrived years earlier. All the passing of a few years meant was that these thoughts and curiosities intensified. As you might imagine, a few of the boys and girls were a little more advanced than the others. I think that stands out to you a little more at seventeen.
The new school brought new friends, new interests and new teachers. There were subjects and activities the other school lacked. The final high school year also proved to be, as I suspect it did for many of my friends, one of the best years of my life. Some of those friends and those memories stayed with me over the decades. I had no idea then that it would be the “best of times.”
When I was twenty-one, it was a very good year…
Four years later, brought a similar situation. It was time to move on to Senior year of university and hopefully finish my degree on time (I didn’t). It did not hold the lasting thrills of 17, but it did seem in a certain way to represent the transition to adulthood. In reality, I was no more adult than at 20 or twenty-two. It was just a symbolic thing.
The “coming of age” also allows you to drink legally, but that did not mean too much. I was days, weeks or months older than the friends I hung around with so it is not like we all headed off to some bar. Still, the year seemed to hold a certain energy that young adulthood will give you if you let it.
When I was thirty-five, it was a very good year…
I had finally earned my Masters Degree.
It was not about career advancement. It was about reaching a goal I had set years earlier. I sometimes studied for the Comprehensive exams with a woman in her 70’s. She was pretty much doing the same thing, reaching for a past dream.
I could tell her of the courses I had and of books I read, and she pushed me to study things I was certain would never be on the Masters’ exam again. She was right about the exam questions and perhaps the reason we both marched up to receive our diplomas on the same day.
It felt like I had hit my stride at 35, although I can not really point to other reasons why. If you have good friends, good times, and a reason for doing things, all seems right with the world.
Well, almost all seemed right. I did not find the one right person to share my very good years. Honestly, I can not say I looked all that hard. I guess I was having too good of a time.
But now the days are short, I’m in the autumn of the year…
One thing that you become acutely aware of as you get older is that the days are short. They don’t seem to last as long as the days of youth, you don’t seem to get as much done and you certainly don’t feel thirty-five. You realize, no matter how desperately you try to suppress the thought, that the days are indeed numbered.
Even if you are optimistically believing that there are, let’s say, thirty-five years left, you know none will be like the year you were thirty-five.
With any luck at all, some will still be very good years.
If your life is like a fine wine, there will be many years which are a fine vintage. Wine aficionados will refer to this as a “very good year.” I hope to still have them. None are 17 or 21 or 35, nor will they be again. With any luck at all, however, I will be able to drink in the rest and enjoy them as if I were sitting in a vineyard in France with one of my best friends while we recall our great adventures together.
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs,
From the brim to the dregs,
It poured sweet and clear.
It was a very good year.
Although many had recorded this song, it won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Male, in 1966 for Frank Sinatra.
It Was A Very Good Year, by Ervin Drake, 1961, lyrics © SONGWRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA OBO LINDABET MUSIC INC
You could stand in the cove and feel the sands move out from underneath your feet. You could walk a little and feel the brush of underwater grasses against your ankles and see the tiny baby fish, schools of them looking for a tiny something to nibble.
It was warm there. Especially in the morning, when all you could see were the fishermen going out in little boats. Sometimes, they would come back with a lobster, smile at you. Then they would toss you the lobster. Just because they were happy and you were smiling.
The thing about that world was people were nice for no reason at all. They would give you things because you were there, the sun was shining, and the sea was warm. We didn’t need to talk, though we did urgently needed to dance.
Oh, how we danced. Steel drums beating so loudly in a cement basement, steamy in the heat of September on a Caribbean night. I’d like to go back now, even without the dancing. Just for the peace of that place — far away and long ago.