Monday, December 22, 2008

Writers From Hell

Come O Shiva shed thy tears and wash away the pain.
A rain for terror and for fear for all who've gone insane.
When writers channel only demons, living hell and gore, raped and molding corpses sell cruises in Darfur.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Little Buddha

Five Positions of Buddha, 'Pancha' or 'Dhayani' Budda

Everyone said we had the most unusual wedding, but I never thought that was true. It was a man and a woman taking vows in front of their minister with their family and friends in attendance to help with the celebration. I didn't want to be given away, because that makes no sense to me. One can only give oneself away. So all four of our parents stood with us to give their blessing.

The night before our wedding, James, our minister, came up from Tucson, Arizona where he had been on sabbatical. That's pretty impressive when you consider that the wedding was in Cincinnati, Ohio. Several of the guests also arrived that evening to stay with us at Aunt Donna's house. She put all 8 of us comfortably in one giant room with Wayne and I chastely sharing a bed. (Maybe that was strange?) James had his own hotel room, but he came out with the rest of the wedding party to watch the movie the night before the wedding.

The movie, The Little Buddha, is a story about a Tibetan Buddhist teacher from Nepal who is looking for the reincarnation of his own Buddhist teacher. Surprisingly, one of the candidates is a boy who lived in Seattle, Washington, and not in Tibet, Nepal or India. Interwoven through the story is the tale of Siddhartha, the story of the Buddha. In case you don't already know it, here is the moment of enlightenment taken from wikipedia:

Mara: "You who go where others dare not; Will you be my God? The architect of my house?"

Siddhartha: "Finally, I meet the illusion of self; Your evil house will not be built again."

Mara: "But you live in me; I am your house."

Siddhartha: "O, trickster; phantom of my own ego, you are pure illusion. You, self, do not exist. The earth is my witness."

Perhaps, taking a Christian minister to a movie about Buddha was an oddity?

When I told my mother's friend that we had Chinese food, five gourmet cakes, and no one drank, she guffawed. She said, "Why didn't you just have spaghetti?" I thought creative while she thought joke. It was some of the finest Chinese food I've ever had and not a single cake tasted of vanilla and sawdust!

James said, during the ceremony, that we both knew what we wanted and we were not bothered by the details, and that is exactly how it was and still is. We wanted to be together forever, as if the separation that we had endured already was barely tolerable and there would be no peace until we were united again.

That is how our married life began.

With our marriage secured, I left for Nepal a few days later, by myself.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gray Day

This morning we all woke up tired and no one got out of bed on time. The sky is sobbing and there is a gray mist hanging all around. The soggy bottom boys ran down the quarter mile drive way in the rain and stood under a shelter for 5 minutes before their bus arrived.

The animals look a little glum, but they stand out in the rain and graze all the same. Right now the llamas are in our yard. They are quiet, slow and focused. Something about the way they walk and eat seems other worldly, like they are big puppets being controlled by someone else. They don't get upset about anything, but every now and again they will give you a hairy eyeball.

We are caught up in the endless comings and goings. School and work, music, sports events, and holidays keep us from getting the house work done. When I am home alone I am usually not catching up on the house work, I am busy planning our next escape. Last Friday we had a really good one. I found a flier at the music school for Bunker Hill Bluegrass and Old Country Jam.

We passed the Christian Fellowship Hall a couple of times before we found it. It was sitting low in a holler and was hard to see on the unlit country road. There was a small sign but no light on the sign. By chance I looked down the hill and saw cars parked all over the grass and a bit of a glow coming from the windows of a white box building.

The kids hopped out into the bitter cold and we followed an old man to the back of the building. I tried to greet him but he couldn't hear me. I wasn't sure if his ears weren't working or if he really didn't expect that I was talking to him. He was concentrating very hard on walking. He would throw his right leg out and around and then catch up with his left leg, stumble a bit, and do it again. It looked very difficult, but he was determined to get to the door.

There was a faint odor of sweat and medicine when we entered the steamy building. Inside the crowd of elderly folk all turned toward us, some smiling and some a little concerned as if perhaps they might have to give us directions because we were lost. They had a donation box at the door and when I tried to put a twenty in it, the man at the door said, "That's waaay too much. We're only trying to cover expenses here." and he opened up the box and dug around until he could find sixteen dollars in change. Meanwhile my bottom was in the way and no one could shut the door.

On the stage was an absolutely fantastic old time country bluegrass band. They stopped singing long enough to say something that sounded like, "Let ‘em in or they won't be back," and then continued on with their songs of constant sorrow and suffering. The Banjo player was really spectacular. He looked like an ancient elf. His arms and legs were little sticks and his ears were huge. He sat perched high on a stool, his face made you think he could already view heaven from where he sat. He had all kinds of little tricks to show off his enormous talent like using the tuning pins to modulate the sound in the middle of the song. There were 2 singing guitar players and someone slapping a stand-up bass in the back. To the side, a man had a wheel of harmonicas for his mouth and a holster of harmonicas around his waist. The voices weren't beautiful but they were harmonious and charming.

We sat down with a group of elderly women. Some of whom could not take their eyes off of Joshua and Sean. Sean, 6, and the gray-haired woman across from him shared the same toothless grin. The boys kept asking me why all of the old people were staring at them. I gave them several answers: "You remind them of their grand children...because you're so cute and they are happy to see you here." But the boys were uncomfortable until they figured out how to communicate with their table mates.

By the end of the performances we had all made friends and the kids won door prizes. Everyone was hoping to see us again at the next jam. Sadly, as much as we enjoyed it, I don't know that it will be on our regular schedule of events. I would like to visit again some time and even take others to see this little gem. But I worry about disturbing their ritual. It was clearly 'the' bimonthly gathering for most of these people, perhaps something akin to church worship. It really made me wonder why there weren't more children and grand children around. Wayne thinks that they probably do the same thing every time and the kids just want to do something new and different.

I am churning over ideas for a next tale. People have asked for tales from my travels but I find that very easy and difficult at the same time. I am beyond wanting to do simple travel writing but don't feel ready to really plumb the depths of another person's culture. I am still struggling with what I don't know about my own culture.

I was considering a story on collecting, an OCD tale. It is very hard to see characters for stories anymore. With a psychologist for a husband, no one is a character anymore, they are all disorders.

Please write me something! I need a distraction.

Peace on earth good will to all.
OCD = Obsessive Compulsive Disorder