Monday, April 20, 2015

Short story "Pandemonium" is published - Irv Yalom - Poem: The Titanic

Just got off my stationery bike. Rode for 20 minutes while reading

Image result for irv yalom creatures of habit

They're much-disguised stories of the patients he sees in his San Francisco office.

Here's Yalom today, born in 1931, he's 83 years old. On his website, look to the Left and see him age.

Image result for irv yalom creatures of habit

I graduated in 1992, at the age of 45, from Hahnemann University's group psychotherapy, receiving my MGPGP degree.

Master, Group Process and Group Psychotherapy.

The chairmen of our department - Mike Vaccaro, MD, and Fabian Ulitsky, M.Ed., brought Irv Yalom out to Hahnemann to speak.

I was sitting with a fellow therapist - I got a job in 6 weeks at Bristol-Bensalem Human Services - named Bill and Yalom walked alone in the room.

He spoke to no one.

He sat on a bench and tied his shoe.

"Go talk to him," said Bill.

"Why?" I said.

Scott made us pizza for lunch. Apparently I didn't inject enuf insulin since my sugar was 202, hence my biking for 20 minutes.

I almost gave up reading Creatures of a Day, as the first few stories didn't interest me. However, things picked up toward the end of the book.

Dig these chapter titles:

Get Your Own Damn Fatal Illness: Homage to Ellie
You Must Give Up the Hope of a Better Past

Yalom begins the book with this unforgettable quote I've already forgotten:

All of us are creatures of a day; the rememberer and the remembered alike. All is ephemeral - both memory and the object of memory. The time is at hand when you will have forgotten everything; and the time is at hand when all will have forgotten you. Always reflect that soon you will be no one and nowhere.
In the chapter I'm reading - Get Your Own Fatal Illness - Ellie, who's dying of ovarian cancer at 63,  tells Yalom that she's jealous of people who are alive and living their lives.

Suddenly I thought, What if I get ovarian cancer? There's no reason not to?

Then my thoughts went to those two or three terrible years when my sciatica was so painful - nothing worked - that I would rather be dead.

How I envied the people walking down my street - walking their dogs, moms pushing their strollers - all the while thinking, You have no idea how lucky you are.

Thank God - and I do thank him or her - I got my operation in 2011 from Guy Lee, praise be his name.

   Guy Lee is also in a rock band and a member of Doctors Without Borders.

At our Writers' Group at the Willow Grove Giant, I had presented my story "Pandemonium." I got all kinds of advise, including, "Leave out all that stuff about the sinking of the Titanic."

A writer can hear feedback but does not have to accept it.

I'd check out the movie "A Night to Remember" which inspired my writing of the short story.

Published by The Literary Yard, who also published my true story "Lethal Weapons," the editor wrote

Hi, Ruth -

You've penned a beautiful story with impressive narrative. 

Onkar [Sharma]

Below is a poem I wrote years ago about The Titanic.


In the dark theatre where
I sat wedged between a man
and his wife, both invisible
but felt, and a teenage boy and girl
scooping popcorn from a bag,

I became pained by boredom
and worried by things
to come.
I fled to the lobby to search my soul.
Would it be cowardly to
pay my money and leave without anything?
In desperation I examined each
glass-enclosed case
filled to flowing with candy
and merry, bright-
colored drinks.

I opened my mouth
to speak to the girl
but no words would come out.
Empty-handed I returned to my seat.

There were fourteen theatres
crouched side by side
I re-entered the dark tomb from
whence I came.
Crawled over the woman's legs,
then the man's, feeling first
her lightness,
then the boniness of the man,
even as he retreated
from my touch.

I wondered
when taking my seat,
alone, unprotected by
a husband or even an acquaintance,
if it might be possible
when the waters
began rushing in and the
people were swept from the
places they clung to,

if I might, ever so gently,
lay my hand on the arm of
the man next to me,
a gentle touch, invisible almost,
to comfort me when the
icy waters swept us under.

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