(Photo: Angie Rayfield)


Chitter chatter
Words filling the air
Circling and wheeling like birds in flight
Aimlessly whirling over the people below.

Push and pull, to and fro
Meaningless and meaningful
Revealing and concealing at the same time.

Words carefully stacked one by one
Seemingly transparent
But they create a wall impenetrable as stone
Keeping secrets hidden away from prying eyes.

Out with the old, in with the new

Wall mural of a woman's face

(Photo: Angie Rayfield)

I finally sat down to do a little post. When I looked at the calendar, I couldn’t help but say, “December? The year’s over?” It seems like just yesterday I started this blog with the best of intentions. I’m gonna post two or three times a week at least. It’ll be a place to help me ‘think through’ things, and share with people dealing with similar experiences. And, of course, it’s going to be wildly entertaining so that readers will flock to it in droves. At the least, I’m gonna be discovered and score a book deal. I’m probably gonna make a jillion dollars in the process.

Yeah, not so much. So why didn’t I do it?

Part of it, of course, is that I’m much better at coming up with new projects than I am at completing any of them. Part of it is that I found myself overwhelmed by other things, and just let this slide. Some of it was pure laziness (hey, gotta be honest).

But when you come right down to it, I’m not all that comfortable with the whole concept of spilling my guts publicly. Let the whole internet gawk at my deepest thoughts, dreams, fears? We’re talking the introvert’s nightmare. And yes, I am an introvert, although people that don’t know me well may be shocked at the notion. Shoot, look at her – she’s friendly, outgoing, don’t think she ever met a stranger. Come on, she’d chatter away to the potted plants if there was no one else around. There’s a post for another day – the way that introverts can, and do, use a bubbly façade as a protective barricade around themselves and their emotions. But that’s another day.

In the meantime, I think I’ve come up a way to encourage myself to write more, more often, and maybe even more in depth. Over the years, I’ve been a dedicated (obsessive?) collector of quotes. To me, words have power, and sometimes the words of others don’t just get my attention, they grab me by the throat and demand that I acknowledge them. Music has much the same power. So why not use these words and songs as a sharp stick to poke myself when I’m confronted with a scary blank screen, and inspiration is nowhere to be found?

It should be an interesting experiment.

Fried Green Tomatoes

friend green tomatoes

(photo: Desi, the Italian voice - flickr.com)

I’m not really a big ‘chick flick’ person, but I love that movie. Not really so much for the story of Ruth and Idgie, although that’s entertaining enough. No, for me the real attraction is watching as Evelyn (Kathy Bates) transforms. Forget a coming of age story; Evelyn proves that it’s never too late in life to find yourself.

Even though I’ve lived outside of the South for most of my life, in some ways I still had a fairly Southern upbringing. Life was full of things that ladies do or don’t do. Some of them were relatively banal – ladies don’t chew gun, run in the house, say ain’t, spit, or scratch in public.

Some things that seem innocuous enough, though, can become toxic. Do as you’re told. Don’t object, argue, or give your opinion unless it’s asked for. Be agreeable. Don’t interrupt, don’t be selfish. The list was almost unending, but in some ways, they all came down to the same thing: What you need is unimportant. Put everyone else’s needs first. If there’s anything left over, take care of yourself, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience anyone else.

Don’t even get me started on the ‘rules’ for dealing with boys. A whole new level of, well, I don’t even know what to call it. But that’s a story for another day.

But somehow along the way, I managed to miss out on the training for what seems to be an essential part of the true Southern lady – the quiet backbone of steel. Hell, forget steel. A backbone of titanium. Remember Gone with the Wind – Melanie Wilkes rising from her sickbed and rushing to Scarlett’s aid when the Yankees showed up at Tara? She could hardly walk, but she would have fought to the death for her loved ones. She was sweet, kind, thoughtful and gracious, but there was a line. That line didn’t waver, and couldn’t be crossed.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of biting my tongue or turning the other cheek while my lines were being crossed. I thought maintaining harmony was too important to risk, that keeping relationships by allowing others to do as they pleased was more important than taking care of my own needs.

In Tomatoes, Evelyn follows Idgie’s lead in calling for Towanda. Towanda, the avenger, righter of wrongs, queen beyond compare! I’m gonna find my own Towanda, and put her to work. She’s been lazy for far too long.