Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Writers, feeling compelled to write

Teaching Freshman English & presented Bukowski recently - his poem on writers writing - the rant, the rave, the energy to write and to have the burn to do so....is it mine?  Is that energy compelling me to write?  The answer in times gone by was a resounding 'Yes'.  The answer now has blurred with life.  Life!  Challenges and the daily grind - the routine & parts of living that our parents talked about to each other - the parts of living that we may have turned a blind eye towards - as life's adventures, lessons and most certainly love - prevailed.  Love included and continues to encompass Living & Politics and those core values of our youth ...the principles of philosophers and the principles of our younger self.  Our truer self?

And so it goes..from teenage questioning - to youthful experimentation............
The now of it - not so clear, not so definitive.

Travelling too quickly from youth to age & wondering about the in-between.  What is it that threads the life-force and what is it to be passed along to the next generation?
Namaste. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers' Day - 2014

Reflections on parenthood; on motherhood.   When was it that wishing for a baby, having a desire for a child was fulfilled and the idea became reality?  When did that wish and longing become the 'now'?

Mothers' Day & taking time to reflect and think about the 'before' becoming a Mom and the 'after'.

Having children and the daily routines and the ethereal wonder of life and learning and questions somehow become and resolve into the young adults.  The conversations change and the discourse becomes the exchange of ideas and queries you always wanted with your own parents.

Enjoying the day & the sunshine and being a Mother to two lovely, intelligent, honorable and most sweet and kind-hearted sons.  The best!
A Man – A Novel – Oriana Fallaci
                        Mythical Man and Love – How to Tell the Truth!

            Oriana Fallaci is a journalist, first and her work and persona seem to be defined by her individualism and her passion.  The book, A Man – A Novel does move away from her non-fiction but is an example of a writer in cross-genre using all of what she knows.
            My admiration for the author does not diminish my close read and critique of this work.
Her characterization of her lover, the illusive and radical political activist, Alexander Panagoulis, inter-connects the politics of the time and her personal beliefs in her writing and activism.
            Myth juxtaposed with truth is a fine line of bearing the facts out with a passionate belief in the man.  This text is both the story of her love, as well as an introspective of the author.
Where does the truth and the fable inter-connect?  As an admirer of Fallaci’s work, I give her latitude in her narrative of both.
            The descriptive passages of the countryside, of their love and passion and the politics actually is not background, but does take on a primary place in the work.  My analysis of the myth/fact theme is also primary.  She takes liberties characterizing Alex in the book, but does not stray from her roots of journalism, journalism of the passionate and active genre.  There is not one sentence in the novel that is not exciting and engaging.  Her use of language is tight, close and skillful.
            The novel reminds the reader that everything matters. There is not a time when an idea or belief should be disregarded or ignored.  The man that she describes, is also a characterization of herself.  I think that her love of him includes self-love and that is not an idea that is repulsive, as she tells her story and his, it is another layer of humanity in the flesh and close up.
            Myth and the idealistic narration of someone who is loved, may be typical when the object of desire and love has died.  The inclination to make bigger, to magnify the qualities that are endearing or that are recalled under the blurred view of a memory is evident in this work.
            This relates to my writing, as the murder in the mystery of my book is based on fact.  The murder victim is also someone who I loved and the challenge is to write about him clearly as he was, not glorify or make him into a mythological ideal.
            Fallaci states, in one narration to her lover, directly, “ Calm down, Alekos.” “As if freedom could be murdered without the consent of the people, without the cowardice of the people!” …Then I wrote you a letter, one of the few we were to exchange from then on.   I was saddened, I wrote, and not so much by the swinish binge, by the sordid little sexual party with which you had spoiled are return full of meaning, unfortunately there would be other binges in your life, more fat whores and thin ones and others neither fat nor thin, but rather I was saddened by what I had heard before you broke off the call.  It showed your thinking had gone for nothing.  Didn’t you already know certain things?”  Fallaci Page 281

            The passage exemplifies her ability to put words in his mouth by her writing to him and the letter being the ‘truth’ of the matter.  For me, as a writer, that letter is self-serving and not reliable.  If he were alive, what would he say to defend his reputation and honor?
            This book is so powerful, that I would like it to be the text for my second short Critique for this Program.  I have read so many themes and writing craft issues are involved that I would like to think about this book and have it considered for my continuation of this review.
Work cited.   Fallaci, Oriana.  A Man – A Novel.  NYC:  Simon & Schuster. 1979.



           


Friday, March 21, 2014

Love in Many Forms - Love/Hate with many Faces! - jk cosmos


Having found the personal items to bring to her Godmother, Jillian continued to look around.  She was curious about this woman and her life.  Having agreed to take responsibility for major decisions, she tried to find clues in the apartment to help her discover the woman’s personality and if she was lucky a clue as to her wishes.  Jillian did look through a small antique desk on one side of the bedroom.  A desk used, it looked like, primarily for keeping papers.  On the side of a small drawer there was sliding piece of ornate engraved wood.  Jillian slid it over.  It seemed fragile, much like its owner. Inside the compartment, she found an inexpensive black and white notebook.  The type that has always been found in five and dime stores and now at the office supply stores.

            Perhaps, something of interest or something leading to a sense of her ward would be found.  She began to read.  There were some descriptive passages of days on the beach and some short character or personal bits about friends or people that were of interest.  Then she began to read a passage that was alarming.  The passage gave a hint of the older woman’s experience.  Jillian had no inkling of such a dire and purposeful cloud affecting this dear woman.  She began again to read the passage.

“Fear, I wouldn’t have imagined the coldness and immobility of being fearful. How could the love turn around so quickly with such violence?
            The courting and romancing ended at the wedding ceremony. My husband was rude and curt at the reception with me and the guests. His only focus was getting high with a few of his friends. My groom was handsome, blonde, blue eyes and tall. He was so perfect on paper.  He was also a ‘coke-head’ and a ‘stoner’.
            My recollection was of moving around the ballroom and greeting our guests, alone. I am alone, again despite the marrying part. I am holding up the beautiful satin train of my gown, and stepping lightly in the most elegant heeled close-toed shoes, the step with the shoes feeling like royalty and changing the walk to more of a glide. How lovely the movement in the gown and with the shoes.  I was in a light satin gown with hand-sewn beaded work on the bodice and crown-piece, which held the yards of translucent cream material.
            The music played a soft jazz selection and the wait-staff move through the ballroom, hinting at the possibilities of happiness, the kind in a lifetime movie feature. And yet, I knew in my heart that the trimmings and the planning for the wedding wouldn’t make it all wonderful. The Groom remained a nasty person, someone without dignity and certainly someone without any respect or love for me.  He was outside of the reception hall for longer than any of the guests and he was missing for the cake-cutting until it was a miserable situation for both families.
            The childish dreams of my wedding day crushed in a moment. His focus remains the drugs and the coke up his nose so much more important than making a commitment to each other. So, why am I continuing with this farce? And, why am I covering up his bad behavior at the wedding and reception with our friends. I think that I can make it better. I know that I can help him be the best person possible. I am so naïve that I believe that I can get him into recovery and back to the loving person that he seems to want to be.  Seems to want to be, or is it the part of holding out the conditional love?  Or is it the part of wanting to be happy?  Or is the part of being the power couple?  It is unclear to me, now and then.
            The reality, as I now know, is that a person delving into the drug scene is not going to work to get away from the ‘high’. The person drugging and partying is committed to a lifestyle and not going to leave it behind to be ‘straight’.
            I dream of an alternative life, one of love and joy! I realize that my reality is one of fear, drugs, waste and anger. My husband works when it suits him for money for his habit, not for us. I work to pay the bills and to keep the household going. I resent him.
            The resentment turns to pure hatred. I wish that he would not come home. It becomes a mantra, please may he not come home.  It becomes a prayer, so constant that the hum of it blends into an energy.  I wish so hard that he will stay away from me. He is a lousy, selfish lover. He is a childish husband. He is not a friend. In fact, as the days wear on, he is my enemy. He is pure evil.
            My wandering thoughts meander to other women’s marriages. How many young women are covering up for the bad behavior of their handsome and childish husbands? I keep wondering about other women’s lives and I think that perhaps there are many of us that suffer. Suffering in silence was not part of the bargain. I would never imagine becoming ‘that suffering, victimized woman’.  The lack of courage to leave or have him leave is a back-breaking, tiring burden.  How many of us in the city, in the country, continue to try to keep the marriage long after it is over.  Perhaps, long after the realization that it didn’t begin.

Thinking about this time in my life is another hurt, a moment of trying to remember, while trying to forget.  The plight of women in flux, the plight of many brides wondering what happened.
            One night I ask him something about what he’d like for dinner. He lashes out at me and throws my childhood glass bank across the room at me. It misses my head. I flinch and it hits the wall, breaking. My childhood piggy bank, the one with the bluish tinge of old glass is shattered against the wall and onto the kitchen floor. Perhaps, I should have stayed at work. Perhaps, I should stay away to avoid these confrontations. I am crying and leave the room, so not to be in his way. I leave the room, but not the house to stay out of danger’s way. My husband is the danger. Why didn’t I know?
            That night, as I lay in bed, my husband comes into the room and turns on the overhead light. Then he turns on the bed lamp and finds his pistol in his night stand. He loads the pistol and tells me to get up out of the bed. He says that he wants to show me how to use the gun so that I can defend myself, just in case someone breaks into the house. He takes the gun and pulls me out of the bed. He is trying to place the gun in my hand. I refuse and tell him we can look at the gun tomorrow. He insists.  He places the pistol in my hand.  His hand is gripping the pistol, while my hand is beneath his, hurting from the hard pressure.

            I am standing next to the bed in my nightgown, naked underneath and feeling vulnerable. I am so vulnerable that it feels like a dream. My husband pulls me around so that my back is against his chest. He holds that gun in one hand over my shoulder. He is showing me the open gun so that I can see the bullets, up close. I would think that I should be shaking, but I am resigned to having a crazy, drug-ridden husband. He keeps saying that he just wants to show me. He presses my fingers around the butt of the gun. Actually, it’s a pistol, he corrects my misinformation. He tells me in my ear, slow and hushed that he found the gun and rubbed off the numbers of this pistol, just for me. He tells me that it’s called a ‘throw-away’. It is an untraceable weapon.  I feel his sour breathe on my hair, near my ear.  I am unable to pull away.  I am immobilized by fear.
            A ‘throw-away’ pistol in our bedroom and he has me around the neck. He has me in a position where my fingerprints are on the gun. If I am shot, he will tell the police that I shot myself, that I was depressed. Not far from the truth, a half-truth, as I am depressed having married this horrible man. He has manipulated the facts, but then again, the truth may be that he has manipulated me. I am the successful one with the beautiful home, and he is not.  I am the person with the skill and the reputation in the profession, and he has nothing. He is a joke and not skilled at all.  He has, though, successfully latched on to me. 
            I do not have the will to live, let alone to love anyone. I am not able to think clearly and I have no reason to get through my day. I am lonely and alone. I am sick and I am bone-weary and tired of living.
            Fear, the fear becomes a reality later in the marriage. The fear and aloneness is something that builds up over time and once in my life settles in so that I feel that I can never survive. If I survive, will I ever feel joy? If I survive, will I wish that I didn’t and wish that the gun did go off that night?
            This sounds like such a sad story of a very sad woman.
            This could be that story, but it is not. This is story of a woman, who could have given up and allowed her husband to survive and destroy her. It is my story. It is my story, and it is one of a courageous woman, who remained determined to live and to find joy. I think that my story is not as unique as I once thought it was and that my story is one that many women experience. Perhaps, some of the details vary. However, the theme and the feelings are common and I would like to tell it all, now.  I am ready to tell the full story, not the abridged version. 

This is how it how it all began.”

Jillian placed the notebook on the bed, near her and thought about the consequences of the wedding and the events that followed.  She began to wonder about the Groom.  What happened to her husband?  What was his name?  What became of him? 

Jillian decided to ask the lawyer when she next met with him.  She jotted down a note to herself, so as not to forget in the managed appointment.  Lawyers like to control meetings and she had discovered that he was one of those people who had his own agenda and then perfunctorily dismissed whoever else was in the room, when he was satisfied.  He was collegial only when he required her signature or something done to move one step closer to closing out the case.

 

 

Scenes from a Marriage


J. K. Cosmos

            Having found the personal items to bring to her Godmother, Jillian continued to look around.  She was curious about this woman and her life.  Having agreed to take responsibility for major decisions, she tried to find clues in the apartment to help her discover the woman’s personality and if she was lucky a clue as to her wishes.  Jillian did look through a small antique desk on one side of the bedroom.  A desk used, it looked like, primarily for keeping papers.  On the side of a small drawer there was sliding piece of ornate engraved wood.  Jillian slid it over.  It seemed fragile, much like its owner. Inside the compartment, she found an inexpensive black and white notebook.  The type that has always been found in five and dime stores and now at the office supply stores.

            Perhaps, something of interest or something leading to a sense of her ward would be found.  She began to read.  There were some descriptive passages of days on the beach and some short character or personal bits about friends or people that were of interest.  Then she began to read a passage that was alarming.  The passage gave a hint of the older woman’s experience.  Jillian had no inkling of such a dire and purposeful cloud affecting this dear woman.  She began again to read the passage.

“Fear, I wouldn’t have imagined the coldness and immobility of being fearful. How could the love turn around so quickly with such violence?
            The courting and romancing ended at the wedding ceremony. My husband was rude and curt at the reception with me and the guests. His only focus was getting high with a few of his friends. My groom was handsome, blonde, blue eyes and tall. He was so perfect on paper.  He was also a ‘coke-head’ and a ‘stoner’.
            My recollection was of moving around the ballroom and greeting our guests, alone. I am alone, again despite the marrying part. I am holding up the beautiful satin train of my gown, and stepping lightly in the most elegant heeled close-toed shoes, the step with the shoes feeling like royalty and changing the walk to more of a glide. How lovely the movement in the gown and with the shoes.  I was in a light satin gown with hand-sewn beaded work on the bodice and crown-piece, which held the yards of translucent cream material.
            The music played a soft jazz selection and the wait-staff move through the ballroom, hinting at the possibilities of happiness, the kind in a lifetime movie feature. And yet, I knew in my heart that the trimmings and the planning for the wedding wouldn’t make it all wonderful. The Groom remained a nasty person, someone without dignity and certainly someone without any respect or love for me.  He was outside of the reception hall for longer than any of the guests and he was missing for the cake-cutting until it was a miserable situation for both families.
            The childish dreams of my wedding day crushed in a moment. His focus remains the drugs and the coke up his nose so much more important than making a commitment to each other. So, why am I continuing with this farce? And, why am I covering up his bad behavior at the wedding and reception with our friends. I think that I can make it better. I know that I can help him be the best person possible. I am so naïve that I believe that I can get him into recovery and back to the loving person that he seems to want to be.  Seems to want to be, or is it the part of holding out the conditional love?  Or is it the part of wanting to be happy?  Or is the part of being the power couple?  It is unclear to me, now and then.
            The reality, as I now know, is that a person delving into the drug scene is not going to work to get away from the ‘high’. The person drugging and partying is committed to a lifestyle and not going to leave it behind to be ‘straight’.
            I dream of an alternative life, one of love and joy! I realize that my reality is one of fear, drugs, waste and anger. My husband works when it suits him for money for his habit, not for us. I work to pay the bills and to keep the household going. I resent him.
            The resentment turns to pure hatred. I wish that he would not come home. It becomes a mantra, please may he not come home.  It becomes a prayer, so constant that the hum of it blends into an energy.  I wish so hard that he will stay away from me. He is a lousy, selfish lover. He is a childish husband. He is not a friend. In fact, as the days wear on, he is my enemy. He is pure evil.
            My wandering thoughts meander to other women’s marriages. How many young women are covering up for the bad behavior of their handsome and childish husbands? I keep wondering about other women’s lives and I think that perhaps there are many of us that suffer. Suffering in silence was not part of the bargain. I would never imagine becoming ‘that suffering, victimized woman’.  The lack of courage to leave or have him leave is a back-breaking, tiring burden.  How many of us in the city, in the country, continue to try to keep the marriage long after it is over.  Perhaps, long after the realization that it didn’t begin.

Thinking about this time in my life is another hurt, a moment of trying to remember, while trying to forget.  The plight of women in flux, the plight of many brides wondering what happened.
            One night I ask him something about what he’d like for dinner. He lashes out at me and throws my childhood glass bank across the room at me. It misses my head. I flinch and it hits the wall, breaking. My childhood piggy bank, the one with the bluish tinge of old glass is shattered against the wall and onto the kitchen floor. Perhaps, I should have stayed at work. Perhaps, I should stay away to avoid these confrontations. I am crying and leave the room, so not to be in his way. I leave the room, but not the house to stay out of danger’s way. My husband is the danger. Why didn’t I know?
            That night, as I lay in bed, my husband comes into the room and turns on the overhead light. Then he turns on the bed lamp and finds his pistol in his night stand. He loads the pistol and tells me to get up out of the bed. He says that he wants to show me how to use the gun so that I can defend myself, just in case someone breaks into the house. He takes the gun and pulls me out of the bed. He is trying to place the gun in my hand. I refuse and tell him we can look at the gun tomorrow. He insists.  He places the pistol in my hand.  His hand is gripping the pistol, while my hand is beneath his, hurting from the hard pressure.

            I am standing next to the bed in my nightgown, naked underneath and feeling vulnerable. I am so vulnerable that it feels like a dream. My husband pulls me around so that my back is against his chest. He holds that gun in one hand over my shoulder. He is showing me the open gun so that I can see the bullets, up close. I would think that I should be shaking, but I am resigned to having a crazy, drug-ridden husband. He keeps saying that he just wants to show me. He presses my fingers around the butt of the gun. Actually, it’s a pistol, he corrects my misinformation. He tells me in my ear, slow and hushed that he found the gun and rubbed off the numbers of this pistol, just for me. He tells me that it’s called a ‘throw-away’. It is an untraceable weapon.  I feel his sour breathe on my hair, near my ear.  I am unable to pull away.  I am immobilized by fear.
            A ‘throw-away’ pistol in our bedroom and he has me around the neck. He has me in a position where my fingerprints are on the gun. If I am shot, he will tell the police that I shot myself, that I was depressed. Not far from the truth, a half-truth, as I am depressed having married this horrible man. He has manipulated the facts, but then again, the truth may be that he has manipulated me. I am the successful one with the beautiful home, and he is not.  I am the person with the skill and the reputation in the profession, and he has nothing. He is a joke and not skilled at all.  He has, though, successfully latched on to me. 
            I do not have the will to live, let alone to love anyone. I am not able to think clearly and I have no reason to get through my day. I am lonely and alone. I am sick and I am bone-weary and tired of living.
            Fear, the fear becomes a reality later in the marriage. The fear and aloneness is something that builds up over time and once in my life settles in so that I feel that I can never survive. If I survive, will I ever feel joy? If I survive, will I wish that I didn’t and wish that the gun did go off that night?
            This sounds like such a sad story of a very sad woman.
            This could be that story, but it is not. This is story of a woman, who could have given up and allowed her husband to survive and destroy her. It is my story. It is my story, and it is one of a courageous woman, who remained determined to live and to find joy. I think that my story is not as unique as I once thought it was and that my story is one that many women experience. Perhaps, some of the details vary. However, the theme and the feelings are common and I would like to tell it all, now.  I am ready to tell the full story, not the abridged version. 

This is how it how it all began.”

Jillian placed the notebook on the bed, near her and thought about the consequences of the wedding and the events that followed.  She began to wonder about the Groom.  What happened to her husband?  What was his name?  What became of him? 

Jillian decided to ask the lawyer when she next met with him.  She jotted down a note to herself, so as not to forget in the managed appointment.  Lawyers like to control meetings and she had discovered that he was one of those people who had his own agenda and then perfunctorily dismissed whoever else was in the room, when he was satisfied.  He was collegial only when he required her signature or something done to move one step closer to closing out the case.

 

 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Adjunct Life of Inservitude & Incivility!

Incivility? Inservitude?  Why would an academic accept the low wages, no benefits and last classes on the assigned list?  How many terminal graduate degrees and years of experience teaching qualifies any adjunct lecturer to actually be invited to 'interview' for that golden apple, that brass ring - the full-time position?  When will adjuncts across the country - put their heads out the window and yell at the top of their voices - “I’m as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' - as Paddy Chayefsky so effectively wrote for his character in Network.

-to be continued - am writing my Union Rep & others to mobilize & move forward for an actual professional life in teaching in higher.ed - time to 'pause' and will continue later.

Namaste. jkcosmos

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Master Class - Play - Terence McNally

Terence McNally - Brava!  Kudos on the dialogue, depth, being a wordsmith extraordinaire!  Moving emotional process for the actors, audience and experience!  Many kudos to McNally!

Master Class reflects a pathos, emotional experience and ability to share a multi-dimensional view of a woman's life journey - the woman - Maria Callas.  Callas' triumph overcoming weight issues and abusive people in her life soars to the height of accomplishment in Opera.  Her voice, technique and ability to move audiences with every role in Opera, reflects her depth - both of talent and technique.

Callas - the Prima Persona of Opera, Voice, Acting & Ability to Show - to Tell & to Transform herself and her audience.  Callas - being Greek, having Passion and being Dramatic.  McNally nails it.

'Master Class' production in Boston in '96 with Faye Dunaway was an intimate and transformational evening in the theater with the actor and sympatico!  By far one of the best theater experiences of my life!

'Master Class' production at the New Rep with Amelia Broome - Ouch!  Broome's performance and accent missed the mark to such a significant degree that it hurt - physcially hurt - my ears, my eyes and oh....my heart.  This is not Callas!  This is not Greek pathos & dramatic pitch!  Broome's accent most certainly sounded Asian and pointed without any emotional guts attached.  Guts in terms of 'having heart' as most creative people know...carries the day & Boome did not!  Guts in terms of 'having heart' and that something-something that all athletes know is the variable for the win, for the last second miracle play.

'Master Class' is masterfull; the play, the words, the emotionals connect.  The production at New Rep was anything but; flat, boring, too staccato and not deep..not connecting and quite honestly, I could have a masterful few hours reading the piece and I, not an professional actor, feel confident that I could mesmerize the audience with a reading, sitting at a table on the stage & have them weep, laugh and empathize with Callas.  Amelai Bloome did none of these things and was grating and a total disappointment; as was evidenced by the lack of applause and lack of response at pivotal points in the production.

This production was a travesty and oh how Callas would have hated it!