Saturday, January 31, 2015

Great turnout at Writers' Group - Kym was there via Skype - Carly's Encomium - My poems: The Woman on the Cover and

We are GOOD and you better believe it!

Am awaiting Scott's phone call saying, "Ms. Deming, Giuseppi's Pizza. Come and get it!"



We were delighted to see the argyle-sweater-clad Allan Heller, master of the pun, who punished us with his cleverocity, like no other.

His poem "The White Death" was a little short story with a surprise ending.

"The Furies" was written all with the letter "D" as in delightful.

Martha suggested he bring us a poem next time using all the letters of the alphabet.

I told the group I watched a Ted Talk this morning by the poet Sarah Kay. Here's the link.

Donna of the totally gorgeous nails read a poem "Brad."


Donna paints her own nails. They come with glitter inside. I wanted to get everyone's hands but no one wanted to do it.

I just emailed Donna my true story "Codebreaker" to get her opinion. I keep revising it. Of course.

Donna's poem was called "Brad."

Who dat, I wondered.  It was a beautiful narrative poem - tells a story - about her brother's son, Brad. Even though he had Asperger syndrome, he made out well in life. These special people have a difficult struggle in life, but he triumphed over the limitations of the illness.

I bring things to the group that I no longer want. Marf will put this rabbit on her shelf of chatchkas.

Her wonderful poem was "Telling Myself the Truth" with great lines like "riding the couch." She, Donna and I agree that once you're diagnosed with bipolar d/o you can never live it down.

Beatriz wrote another great piece about pollinators. I brought her a pair of bee earrings I found hiding from me, but she said her ears weren't punctured.

She's writing a book about state flowers and pollination. "Many flowers are not very selective and they welcome all kinds of visitors. They are wide open."

There are also "ambush bugs" whose only concern is to snare hapless pollinators to make a meal out of them.

I'm like that, too. When I go over Mom's, I ambush her refrigerator.

More than 80 species of pollinators, she wrote, have been seen on the much-maligned goldenrod. We've learned it's actually the ragwood that makes us sneeze.

At this point, I sneezed twice.

Why? There's always a reason. A woman had just walked by. I'm guessing it was her Chanel No. Five.

Most wasps, she wrote, are less hairy than bees and have narrow waists.

Sexy! I can just hear the males whistling.

My teapot just whistled. Am getting ready for the company.

They canceled. 

Hello Kym! We spoke to her via Skype. She looks great, doesn't she? This is B's computer. Kym read us some short poems we enjoyed.

Send em to me for the Compass, I said.

She also commented on everyone's work.



 Carly Brown

CARLY'S ENCOMIUM ABOUT THE WRITERS' GROUP

Aren't we fabulous!  YES we are. 

We have B. who understands all thing Bees and Butterflies, then there's Ruthie who has the number on short stories and is prolific in poems and has the buzz on where to publish.

Then my beautiful friend Donna who is short on thinking great of herself, but long on making any one of us to feel the same greatness we feel for her.

Martha who is understanding of all the nuances of each of our poems and stories and is a magnificent poetess on her own.  

Lest we forget our very own Poet Laureate's punny insights and marvelous smiles, Sir Allan.

Linda with her constant writing and insight into life on galaxy's beyond our gaze.

Then how can we forget Sir Floyd! with his weirdly wonderful names and manly insights into the human condition located in his overflowing imagination.

Then lastly but certainly not least we have Kym who carries the banner on short but sweet poems that can take us right to the precipice of "WOW" but bring  us back to where it's safe to breathe again.   

Yes, we can all quite agree and to borrow from a well known fighter, of our yesterdays,

                                                       "We ARE the Greatest!" 

                               The Greatest Eights!
*

Last night I hadn't a single idea what to write about. I really wanna start a new short story, but I'm overloaded with editing the Compass and that Codebreaker story.

This morning, after my delicious egg breakfast, I paced around the room and came up with two ideas.

Ages ago I bought an old Life magazine at a thrift shop. I posted the cover in the dining room. Here's a poem I wrote about it.



THE WOMAN ON THE COVER

In July of 1943
a pigtailed girl
posed for the cover
of Life magazine
she sat
hands in lap
demure as a
sheltered maiden
sitting in her parents’
parlor, while Tommy
from across the street
was down on one knee
asking for her hand.

She smiled. We’ll name
her Patsy. “Wait till I’m
home from the war,”
she said. Then in a
whisper, “I don’t wanna
get knocked up while
I’m flying a plane.”

She wore a pilot’s
jumpsuit in the B&W photo
Behind her the
engine of a B-52
with an Army star on it
swelled with might
its steel energy
held it aloft
over Paris London
and Berlin
she, a twenty-year-old
girl, fighting to save the
Jews from Hitler, to puzzle
back the world from its
death throes
and then go home
to birth her babes
and fall into oblivion
dying with a contented smile
on her lips
her family beside her.
I had the honor of
closing her eyes for
the last time. 

*

Someone in the group, probly Marf, asked me if I felt like I was Patsy. I suppose so, I said, just like I feel I'm all the characters I've ever written about.

*

Last week, Donna had wrin a poem called "The Mirror Doesn't Lie." I think we're using it in the Compass. I happened to go in the baffroom and looked at myself in the meer to see if I needed to brush my hair.

I took a long look at my face. 



LOVING THE FACE IN THE MIRROR

The gum-chewing woman
I see in the bathroom mirror
has evolved from a freckle-faced
kid with thick brown hair who
could ride backwards on her
bicycle and win at broad jump
and baseball in elementary school
into the unsmiling woman she
she views in the mirror.

Her eyes have tiny creases over
the eyelid, she touches them
gently and blessing their fealty
over the past sixty-nine years.
Where have the freckles gone?
Faded with the loss of a loveless
marriage, cheered by the birth
of two children.

Thin lips, like her father’s, can
cackle loudly when her sister
tells her something awful about
Mommy, or purse in silence
when reading about the latest
treatments for depression.

Shall we talk about the dewlaps?
Not as bad as Mommy’s of course
And that crinkly neck.
“Wear a scarf,” Freda told her.
She tried it, it choked her.
She loves stroking it
fondling it
a neck for all time
she will go to the grave
with this crinkly neck
whose many folds are
like the deep furrows
of her vegetable garden.

Has anyone noticed?
I’m still the girl in the photo who
once wore pigtails and
ate ice cream and pretzels
on the front porch.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Letter to the Editor published in The Inquirer - Good experience with Netflix

Care in community

Joseph Rogers of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania decries the return of mental asylums, but I vociferously disagree ("Peace of mind with community-based care," Jan. 25). I, too, was locked up as someone with bipolar disorder.

When people were let out of facilities such as Byberry and Norristown State, they were left to fend for themselves. Many of them are now in prison, homeless, or living in horrible rooming houses where they are not cared for. If indeed asylums can be made to be safe places - and Gov. Wolf may help with this - let's bring these folks back for the good care and compassion they and their families so richly deserve.

Ruth Z. Deming, New Directions Support Group, Abington

*

Every Friday the Huntingdon Valley Library has a free movie. I was going to attend "Bethlehem," an Israeli film about spies and counterspies.

Then I checked Netflix, which I subscribe to, and saw it was listed.

Began watching the movie. It was excellent.

One shot in particular, showed the city as it's named in Palestine - Bet lehem. I love seeing other places in the world, esp. the Jewish homeland and also what it looks like in Palestine. (Two states please when you get around to it, like, in 50 years.)

Meantime, I'm waiting for the subtitles to come on.

When they don't, I goggle the phone no, and enter a 6-digit code.

Wow! Just like a spy.

So, Brent from Colorado, walks me through - or should I say Waltzes me through or Lindyhops me through the process of turning on the subtitles.

I shall continue watching the film.

*

I needed to take a break from my writing.

Worked on a true story called Codebreaker, which I wanna submit into a contest. Deadline is Feb 9, I believe. It costs $3 to enter. They call it a 'courtesy fee.'

Carly from my Writer's Group liked the story and gave some good suggestions.

Here's Carly.

My friend Freda called me and gave me the imprimatur I needed.

 Where did I learn that word?

Charlie Rose's guest last nite was the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright -  Ayad Akhtar - who discussed his play Disgrace. Read Times Review here.

I was riding my bike while watching it.

I'll go over Codebreaker later tonite and then submit it.

Freda said, She felt like she was 'going crazy' as she read it.

Good!

That's what the story is about: my first manic-psychotic episode.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Facebook inspires a new poem: Little Boy Blue

            The Willow Grove Naval Air Base closed in 2013. Read about it in Wiki.

When my kids and I lived in the apartments we would hear the planes roaring overhead.

When we moved into our yellow house, same thing.

When I went on FB tonite, the group "I Grew Up in Willow Grove" popped up. I don't know any of these people, but one woman wrote that she and her family would make night runs to view the planes.

"What a beautiful thing to do," I wrote, knowing immediately I'd write a poem about it.

I pictured my mom's beautiful figurines as I wrote it. You just never know where ideas come from. It took only five minutes to write.





LITTLE BOY BLUE

I was the little sister
the tag-along
our little yellow house
would shake when
they flew overhead,
mom’s knickknacks
quivered on the
mantel. One time
Little Boy Blue tumbled off
onto the carpet
I kissed his broken arm
and mom repaired it
with sweet-smelling
cement

Nights
brother Jimmy would
call: Bundle up
we’re going out.
I ran to the closet
and slipped on my
red jacket and hood

C’mon Little Red Riding
Hood, Jimmy called, grabbing
my hand. Behind us Bonnie
and Holly, both larger
than me, followed along.

Be careful! yelled mom.
Dad sat smoking a pipe and
reading his newspaper.

Darkness fell like a
long black hearse
and my hands clapped
my ears, they made so
much noise.

Airplanes! Coming in
for a landing down the
street at the Naval Base.
They looked like huge lit-up
bumblebees, buzzing their
way through the sky
and down to the runway.

Hurry, cried Jimmy and
we ran, four tiny figures
watching the planes
come in. Did the pilot
see me wave? I stood
near the fence on my
tippy-toes waving with
all my might. 

Is that why Jimmy decided
to go to war? Iraq. The Afghan.
We waited for his letters to
arrive. We waited and waited.
Was he a prisoner? Was he
alive? His picture sat on our
mantel piece. The Navy Base
had closed, so things no
longer vibrated. One day
as we sat in the living room
watching television, the door
bell rang. We knew from the
movies what that meant.
We were wrong.
The man from the photo
walked in the door, blue eyes
blazing.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Donating to WRTI-FM - Curb your anger

  Well here I am in the Giant Supermarket with Bob Perkins, "BP with the GM" of WRTI-FM.

Swamped with guilt for not having donated to my tied-for-first favorite music station, I called them this morning - the music was heavenly - oh, it was an all-Mozart Day, Jan 27 was his birthday - and got one Daniel on the phone.

This was a day when I had lots of work to do. Compass plus deadlines for poetry and prose. Look! I'm still awake at 4 in the a.m. due to the 'caffeine effect.'

I did begin the "Editor's Corner" of the Compass, which is usually tough to write. I began with the suicide death of Christopher Tully.

Christopher Tully (Image via gofundme.com/k0qapc)
Look at this man! Can you believe he jumped into the Schuylkill River and drowned?

So I'm on the phone with Daniel.

It's like being in an echo chamber and you can't get out.

A prison.

Everything I say, he repeats and spells it

R as in river
U as in umbrella
T as in tumbler
H as in hat

Stop it Daniel! I say nicely.

I can't, he says, or I'll lose my job.

Go fuck yourself, I wanted to say.

But didn't.

I also wanted to hang up on him.

But didn't. 

And gave them the minimum donation I ever give.

He wanted a statement from me.

Why are you donating to WRTI, he asked.

Because it's my favorite station [tied with WXPN]. I listen to it in the daytime and in the night.

When he sent me a confirmation email, R as in Ruth, U as in umbilical cord, my statement was in the email.

It made it all worthwhile.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Busy Day - slept thru the first part of it

In my "Milk and toilet paper run" to the Giant last nite, I picked up two bars of Cadbury chocolate. A new trade law, protecting Hershey and other US chocolate makers, has banned imports of Cadbury.

The bars are made here in the USA, and will continue to be made here, but they do not taste the same.

Why not? Different products... milk from UK farms, etc.

As a person with diabetes, I only ate two squares of the fruit n nut and then hid it on the cold back porch. 

Big cooking day for me.
You can't imagine how delicious this is.

I have more left for tomro.

Scott came over at 6:30 for

 Scallops dinner. Garlic, mushrooms and peppers and onions and lemon.
I served it in my Sunday best.

The pants are hand-me-downs from Noam Levine, who served in the Israeli army.

My friend Freda Samuels helped me write a letter to the Inquirer that goes like this.... to the tune of my new favorite song by The Stray Birds

In response to Joseph Rogers’ letter of Jan. 25 in which he decries the return of mental asylums, I vociferously disagree.

I too was locked up as a woman with bipolar disorder.

When people were let out of facilities such as Byberry and Norristown State, they were left to fend for themselves. Many of them are now in prison, homeless or living in horrible rooming houses where they are not cared for.

If indeed asylums can be made to be safe places – and our new Governor Wolf may help with this – let’s bring these folks back for the good care and compassion they and their families so richly deserve.

Ruth Z. Deming, MGPGP
Founder/Director of New Directions Support Group
www.newdirectionssupport.org
Willow Grove, PA
Daytime phone:  215 659 2142
Thanks for your consideration!!!

Sure hope they publish it!



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Make way for The Demings! Scott's Train Set

I vacuumed the entire house.

When I showed Grace my new carpet, she said, "Purple is my favorite color."

"There are many shades of purple," I said. "This is called lavender. Can you say Lavender?"

She is so fast. She was all over the house.

When you get older, I said, you can sleep in this room. The couch becomes a bed.

I woke up super-early this morning, was wide awake, had a delicious egg-mushroom omelet and then went into this room to meditate.

I tried a new mantra - Soft Belly - from a book I'm reading called "Unstuck" by James S Gordon, MD - and fell into a deep sleep.

I seldom read about mood disorders. I didn't even read Kay Jamison's "The Unquiet Mind." I told my former psychiatrist Larry Schwartz that I'm too jealous of her to read it.

This book is outstanding! In fact, I'm gonna send an email to my entire group suggesting they read this non-medication approach to wellness.

He claims - and he may be correct - that there is no such disease entity as "depression." He has not mentioned bipolar d/o so far.

 Max was all over the house. He's wearing his Spiderman sneakers.

He's in my office where I have his photos on the bulletin board above my computer.

Who's this? I asked.

Me, he said, and quickly ran away.
 He takes the stairs on foot or on butt.
 I photographed Grace but my camera is so slow - and she is so fast - all I got was her pink jacket. She had re-arranged my refrigerator magnets.

 Grace loved this whatcha-ma-call-it I bought at the American Visionary Museum. She said she would like to have it.

Maybe on your b'day, I said.

What I really want, she said, is a new chapter book.
 Come with me, I said. I went downstairs to the bookcase and finally found Flicka, Ricka, Dicka. My mom and I would walk to the Lee Road Library in Cleveland Heights, and we'd check out these marvelous tales by Swedish author Maj Lindman (1886-1972).

Dan brought one of Max's trucks and they're playing. Grace is exploring the rest of the house.

Dan spun them in my purple chair. I often sit in this chair eating my b'fast and listening to an audio tape.

Mommy is home sick. Really sick with some sort of cold.

Scott invited us over to see his train collection. Dan asked if he still adds things to it.

Absolutely, said Scott, who was about 30 when he started putting it together. As a kid, he broke his dad's train collection b/c he always took things apart to see how they worked.

He had no idea he would some day work as a trouble-shooter at SEPTA. 

 Max was absolutely riveted!!!

At one point, Grace stuck her finger on the track, and Scott said, "Move your finger. We don't wanna cause a trail derailment."
 Here's a SEPTA train now, whizzing by.
 Who's this man? Why it's Scott Sherman. They've erected a statue in his name for founding this little town. It has various names, depending on the stations. One of them is, ugh, Plasticville.
Said Dan, "Glad you still have my sign."

He got it outside a park near where his friend A.J. used to live.

Dan, I said, dyou mean to say you  s-t-o-l-e  it?

Yep, he said.

Then we heard a loud thump!

It was Grace jumping down the stairs. She'd been exploring the upstairs of Scott's house.
Last night I watched the 2014 R-rated film The Interview, made by Netflix. We watched it on Netflix, tho Scott slept thru the whole thing.

Once I could get thru the first 10 minutes, which was so sophomoronic, I watched it. It was overly long, silly, filled with jokes a 13-yo boy would like, but it did hold my interest. Probly b/c of the acting.