September 18, 2013

When I'm Gone

I've never seen myself as a poet, but I do consider myself a story-teller.
I wrote this poem five years ago while watching my mother read a bedtime story to my two-year-old niece Freya. I thought about the time when my mother wouldn't be around to do this anymore, and I imagined she might write a letter to her. I've never shared this before a few weeks ago, and I'm giving it to my mother tonight.

A Letter to My Granddaughter on Her 18th Birthday (Freya's Song)

My Darling Dear
My Guinevere
Though I have been absent now
For many years
And perhaps you no longer remember my face
Covered with folds like the pages of a book we once read
Of kings and fairies
And things that might be
When you sat small upon my knee
Before succumbing to your bed

I wanted you to see, my queen
That my stories are not yet through
Though I’ve taken my place
Among the bards of yesterday
I still reach out from time and space
To tell one final tale to you

Your future is a living story
Empty pages to be written in
With ink that cannot be erased

As you start on your adventure
Do not rush towards stories end
Notice lilies in the morning
Count the stars that end the day
Real heroes are not forged in glory
But in quiet journeys along the way

The greatest deeds a champion does
Are those we do not write about

Real moments that make up our lives
Are more important in the end
Than all the dragons we have slain
Or fleeting glimpse of unicorn
These cannot match the sun at morn
Or the smile of a friend

Dream big
Act small
In kindness
And my queen
Do not forget
Each life is a chapter
In a far greater story
Written across the universe
It is the small words that weave
Our stories together
Be thoughtful with pen
When contributing
Your verse

September 6, 2013

The Reality Show Reality

I'm not a huge watcher of reality shows, but I enjoy them in moderation. I usually pick one show a season as my guilty pleasure. Pretty Wicked Moms was my poison of choice last season and I'm really looking forward to Big Rich Texas returning in November.

That said, I have no idea why I watch them. It's like going to an all you can eat shrimp buffet. It seems like a good idea when you enter the joint, but by the time you are done with it all you can think about is throwing up.

My husband is fascinated by my love of aging, rich blond women and my hatred of them. "Why do you watch these if you are going to curse at the TV?" he asks. I respond by asking him why he does the exact same thing with football.

I took his question to heart though. Why am I fascinated enough by their lives to use up one of my DVR recording slots?

Maybe reality shows are the grown up version of playing Barbie. Bitchy, tequila-shooting, Barbie. These women all have the fabulous homes, the shoes, the clothes, the bullet boobs, the makeup and the Ken Doll. Granted, Ken is now a fifty-year old, womanizing alcoholic going through a mid-life crisis, but at least he still has his Malibu home.

Unlike Barbie, however, none of these women have jobs, or if they do its something like real estate agent to the stars or clothing designer for K-mart. It's all work that can be done on their own hours and with a drink in their hands.

Not to say it's all easy for these gals. Tragedies happen: Botox clinics shut down, cars get keyed by jealous bitchez, nails get chipped in cat fights. But, for the most part, these women are still leading a fantasy life that doesn't involve changing dirty diapers or scooping up week-old kitty litter. It's kind of nice to see that sort of parallel dimension.

Reality shows are like magic mirrors. They can transport us away for an hour to a place where the kitchens are always clean, but we're always glad to be back in our own hovel when it's over. And while I didn't marry Ken, that G.I. Joe action figure taking up residence on my couch while playing the X-box and calling for a sandwich is real and I love him.

And that's the real secret of reality shows: they make us appreciate our own reality, beach-less house and all.

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