This is what we do When the sky turns velvet blue And the shadows get long Enough to lose a life in: We creep inside And lock everything tight. Now is not the time For bare legs and indiscretion, Sugared drinks and confessions; Now is the time for closed robes And zipped lips. No one can understand us now With a history book so thick, Full of lists of sorrow unexplained. It is time to bow out, Retreat with silent grace, Pull down the shades; And that silhouette across the way Will stay a minor character In a fantasy screenplay. As we turn up the heat And dismantle expectations, A soft consistent rain Greets the close of day.
[Written in 2017, so now it’s been over 16 years.}
Please excuse my lack of bloggery… I was busy attending my daughter’s wedding.
I seem to be out of writing mode, which will change shortly as I’ve rejoined a great prompt group that meets weekly, plus September always motivates me. I’m a student at heart. New school year, crisp notebook, let’s go!
But in the meantime, I wanted to say something, so I decided to turn to my trusty old Ultrablog archives. Apparently I said nothing 10 years ago (hard to believe), so I went back 12 (I don’t like elevens). Twelve years ago I was married, had two children living with me, and for some bizarre reason went to see the Dukes of Hazzard movie.
Now, if you had asked me point-blank an hour ago, Paula, did you ever see the Dukes of Hazzard movie? I would have said no and I would have probably even denied knowing there existed a Dukes of Hazzard movie. But archives do not lie! And if Google Drive says I saw a movie, then I saw it. I suppose in the scheme of things that forgetting the Dukes is no great loss. I hope I don’t forget anything important however, such as a sub-thread from Game of Thrones.
I said I liked the movie except for Burt Reynolds being miscast as Boss Hogg. I also said the TV Roscoe was funnier and I was disappointed that “Boots” played over the credits at the end and we didn’t get to see the sexy car wash scene. I have no idea what I meant by that. The Nancy Sinatra song? Wha? I suppose I could look all that up, but someone will know, so I’m not going to bother.
I really miss when my online writing friends blogged instead of blopped on Facebook. FB is junk food for writers ~ and not even the good junk food like tacos or Oreos, but the worst junk food like those skinny yucky pretzels. You can sit there for hours and eat a million of them and you’ll never be satisfied, only thirstier and thirstier.
Welcome to my quick reviews ~ a mix of short takes on movies and books I’ve recently watched or read. Note that I don’t have a problem blabbing spoilers, so if that bothers you, skip this post. Also, if you’re wondering why I am formatting my list like this, it’s because every time I allow the block editor to create an automagic list, it’s a complete disaster.
1 ~ Trust Fund. This 2016 movie stars a bunch of actors you haven’t heard of. The title is fun because it’s not just about the financial aspect of a trust fund, but also a reservoir of trust that gets depleted and refilled. Reese, the heroine, is a gorgeous young woman who is being supported by her mega-rich father while she “writes a novel.” She has a sister Audrey who works hard every day in their father’s PUBLISHING COMPANY and resents Reese for flitting around and wasting her life. Reese discovers that their deceased mother actually left the sisters a pile of money that her father has been doling out in a plan to make them productive citizens. Eff that, thinks Reese, and steals her half of the money. She immediately jaunts off to Italy and hooks up with a sexy criminal. Predictability ensues, and Reese ends up returning home with nothing. But because this is a silly romcom (sort of), it turns out she is actually a fabulous writer, churns out a best-seller that her father’s new wife (also a publisher) publishes, and remembers that she actually loves a cute guy she’s known since childhood. Sort of a sugary meaningless movie, if you feel like watching one of those.
2 ~ Traitor Born by Amy A. Barton. This book is intense! It’s total fantasy sci-fi, which I don’t always like, except when I do. I read the first book in the series a while back and received a notification that the next two were available. This is the second one. It’s fabulous! Every chapter is filled with exciting action, roiling emotions, and stunning descriptions of life in the fictional universe. It’s completely unpredictable, which makes for an interesting read. Amy goes into great detail regarding people’s looks, clothing, housing, weapons, social status, etc., and all that grounds the reader in this bizarre world as fantastical things occur. I have the third one in my queue to read as well. Five stars!
3 ~ Rebel Born by Amy A. Barton. Welp, I couldn’t resist diving right into the last book of the Secondborn trilogy as soon as I finished the previous one. It did not disappoint. Full of action and unexpected twists, this final story delivered the reading goods for me. And as an extra treat, this book veered into the philosophical realm, which pleased me even more. First-rate fantasy sci-fi right here folks, not to mention a love story as well. Five stars. Highly, HIGHLY recommend the three books (begin with Secondborn). What I’d really like to do is gobble up more of Amy’s books, but I’m trying to pace myself and read the other books in order in my Kindle queue.
4 ~ Zack & Miri Make a Porno. This 2008 romcom stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks. It kept coming up on my Prime list, so finally I said OK and clicked. It’s so predictable and stupid. Maybe I’m old now, but all the crude sexual stuff just makes me cringe. I did enjoy the “love story” last quarter of the film however. There were a few other parts I liked… when they riff over what to name their porno and when Zach comes up with the Star Wars spoof script and funny names for the characters. Amusing wordplay. But mostly? Barf. It was a struggle not to turn it off during the first fifteen minutes.
5 ~ The Father, starring Anthony Hopkins. This 2020 movie is so good. It’s not a “fun” movie, nor an exciting one; it’s very sad and very profound. We experience daily life through the eyes of a man afflicted with dementia, and the film is shot in such a way that makes us feel as disoriented as he does. Why are the chairs in different places today? What happened to the picture over the fireplace? Who is that man sitting in my living room? Why hasn’t my youngest child visited me in so long? Time passes differently. What happened 10 years ago might be yesterday and vice versa. We don’t remember what someone told us a half hour ago. This movie brought back vivid memories of my father. He suffered from dementia for many years and ultimately had to go into an assisted living home. Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor at the Academy Awards for this film, and it was well deserved.
She had nothing better to do, so she went with the others to the book signing. The nurse said it would be only a short walk from the bus stop to the bookstore, but it was windy, which exacerbated the chill. By the time they stepped inside, she was too cold and achy to care about a book, even one written by a famous writer.
“Aren’t you buying one?” her friend asked. “Jim Warren will sign it himself!”
She picked up a copy from the stack and stood in line with the others. At least it was pot pie day. That would warm her up. She smiled thinking of the delicious flaky crust and bubbling chicken and veggies tucked inside. Hopefully it would be ready as soon as they returned from this outing.
“You have a beautiful smile.”
She realized she was at the front and it was her turn to pay and have the book signed. The writer was old, much more ancient than he had appeared in the flyer she’d received. His face was a map of lines, and when he smiled they radiated out to the ends of the earth and beyond. His hair was a puff of snow, haloing his head. But his eyes! They glittered like aquamarine jewels, as if an ocean bubbled beneath his skin.
“Thank you,” she said, handing her credit card to the bored-looking cashier.
“To whom shall I dedicate this book?” the ancient writer asked.
“To Daisy.” She felt herself blush for the first time in thirty years as he studied her face and repeated her name. When he handed the book back, their fingertips touched briefly.
On the bus ride home, she opened the jacket to see what he wrote. She turned in her seat so no one else could see.
Dearest Daisy, you have brightened up my morning with your lovely smile. Let’s meet again in these pages and have a wonderful adventure. Yours, James
Daisy skipped lunch and went straight to her room to begin reading the book. Within a few pages, his words swirled her through the mists of her imagination to the beach of his dreams. She was young and beautiful with long golden hair and a body that had no pains. Her pillow was sugary sand; waves of aquamarine flowed over her like a blanket. When a villain materialized from the rocks, a hero galloped out of the clouds on a steed made of fire. He swept her away to the ends of the earth and beyond.
“I hoped I would find you here,” she said.
“Our adventure is just beginning,” he told her. And he kissed her as they headed into the wind.
One of the things I’ve stopped doing in the past few years is wearing makeup. Not that I ever wore a ton of it… only foundation, eye liner, mascara, and lip gloss. I still have it all, but my Maybelline mascara is so old I should probably throw it away. The last time I wore eye makeup was Halloween 2019 and it really bothered me. I find that the longer I go not putting gunk on my eyes, the worse it feels when I try again ~ my eyes tear up and get so itchy. I realized then that there was no reason I needed to wear it. None. My face is my face and I’m okay with that. Even if I’m wearing a costume…
I’m not condemning anyone who enjoys makeup! It was fun back in the day to try different colors of eye shadow and lipstick. And I still like to use nail polish. I may even end up coloring my hair again… who knows?! Nope, I’m just specifically saying that eye makeup irritates my eyes now, and I am not inclined to spend a bunch of money finding fancy kinds that don’t because… who cares? I’d rather spend money on acrylic paint and create more masterpieces.
In fact, I may paint again this weekend. You have been warned!
Is it truly the cruelest? I mixed memory and desire And ended up with banana bread, In a year where we all Baked too much And didn’t hug enough. Soon I will be 60, Sharing my birth month with Hitler And Valerie Bertinelli. One day at a time, Hours melted away, In a year where weeks blended So seamlessly, No events to mark One month from the next.
“You’re still young!”
Many people turn 60 And 70 and 80, But not everyone. My mother didn’t make it to 80; My father did, more or less. I remember his 60th— A birthday party up in Saugus, Near Magic Mountain, Where they’d bought a new house And sold it a year later for a loss. My dad couldn’t find work— The insurance companies Wanted fresh grads with MBAs. But 60 isn’t old, they say.
Thanksgiving week I drove by, On my way to Alameda; The roller coasters stood silent, Like dinosaurs in a tar pit. But the rides will come alive again, Restaurants will open, And this year will slide into the muck Of memories best forgotten.
I chant my list like a mantra, Grateful and selfish, Wanting to keep what I have. A sky full of cold stars Shrugs as it does Over these wastelands, Increasing waistbands, Indifferent to lists. Time spins out to infinity, Where numbers collapse And the present is past; In one shining moment, It all makes sense…
Kevin was Too old for me, but He knew where to get good drugs. Guys my age Don’t like to smoke pot anymore– They’re too busy making money. Kevin discussed His failed relationships And growth experiences; He said, “There’s nothing I’ve done That Jackson Browne hasn’t Sung about.” Later we walked by the lake On slippery stones And cold night sand; The stars had Someplace better to go. I asked Kevin if he, You know, Ever killed anybody over there, And he said, “You bet I did, baby. I shot ’em dead.” Kevin called A few months later– Said he was having trouble Meeting people (He meant women) Here in the Windy City– Thought he’d join Club Med. I wished him luck, but Today I read That Jackson Browne has been With the same woman for Several years And they might even get married.
I didn’t see Kevin again.
Free verse poem written in 1989. Image source unknown.