"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy"-
Dr. Martin Luther King
In my title, Our City of New Orleans, I'm referring to all of us in America. New Orleans is the soul of our country, and thanks to the help of our great citizens all over America and the rest of the world, she will rise again.
I live eighty miles north of New Orleans in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and due to the fact that we were out of utilities for weeks after Hurricane Katrina we didn't realize the extent of the damage until our power was resorted.
After which, thousands of New Orleans citizens began to pour into Baton Rouge, particularly after the city was hit again by Hurricane Rita, only a week later.
One of the greatest and oldest city in America resembled a war zone...It's impossible to explain unless you saw it with your own eyes.
I would also like to extend this post, and my heart, to the Mississippi Gulf coast, whose citizens were also affected by the devastating effects of these natural disasters, in addition to the man-made horror the entire gulf coast is dealing with today-
However, if there is a region and a country that will pull through this, it is the deep south, and the United States of America~
In the words of the first man, I ever adored, Henry David Thoreau,
"If thou art a writer, write as if thy time were short, for it is indeed short as the longest."
In January of this year as my friends and I danced, drank, and spoke of the year ahead as if we were guaranteed the time, the words of Henry David Thoreau rang a different truth for me, a truth I would understand in a different way by the end of the year.
Even some of my own words ring with a bizarre realism, for example, I wrote a little saying on this landing page that reads,
-Most of the worlds' great things were born of adversity and hardship; because these roadblocks encourage us to dream, imagine and believe.-
And now, those words ring more true to me than they did this past January, which I guess I should explain,
You see regardless of my train of thought at the end of last year, by February, my life began to cloud over, I had already been in pour health for some time, and it was beginning to get the best of me…for one thing I couldn’t write, which for me, is like snatching a bottle from a baby or alcoholic, take your pick…writing is my addiction, and I had the worst writers block I’ve ever known, hence, I knew I wasn't happy. In fact, I was simply miserable in every way, and I couldn’t put the breaks on my emotions. I was sick of myself.
Then, came the arrival of one of those typical Louisiana Springs, full of the kind of afternoon thunderstorms that tests your nerves like a colicky baby. I wanted to yell out of one of my windows, "Enough already!" My life was turning into days and days of pouring rain- Mainly because one of best friends in the world was dying of lung cancer. She passed away at the end of June, we met when we were twelve years old, so we were close friends for 35 years-, and now she is gone-
Which brings me back to my words,
Most of the worlds' great things were born of adversity and hardship; because these roadblocks encourage us to dream, imagine and believe.-
It seems to me that when the pain in our lives pull on our heartstrings, it stretches our hearts, thereby creating a greater capacity for love, joy, compassion, forgiveness, etc... In fact, after this year, I think my heart has grown to the size of a bottomless pit- Although, don’t get me wrong, I am not naive, meaning, I do realize, that much of the time pain and tragedy taxes the human heart to the point of pulling it in the other direction. I just believe that life is about paddling through to the other side, in other words, if we make it through the “hardship and adversity,” we win the prize of knowing abundant joy, or I pray this for us all, because, as Thoreau said, “Indeed our time is short, at the longest.”
In closing, I hope that after reading all of these paragraphs, you won't think of me as mellow dramatic, because it's hard to articulate how thrilled I am at this moment. As I write this post, I feel as though I am wrapping my arms around a long lost friend, and indeed, I am. It is a great feeling, because here on this blog, writing to my fellow friends, bloggers, and writers, I can let my soul fly, and my imagination take its course.
I guess one of the reasons blogging is such fun, is because there are no deadlines, judgments, or contracts- just writing and friendship.
In truth, I feel like I did the first time I saw the gulf coast; I was ten years old and so blown away by it's vast beauty that my stomach went into an excited flutter. I think it was one of the first times I realized how important and wonderful it was to be alive. I felt a content happiness, close to the way I felt when I daydreamed into the branches of my grandmother’s pecan trees, or when my mother read to my brothers and I, but that was when I was much younger, of course.
I used to lay in my grandmother's front yard, and read, where the grass was cool, although there were times when I read the same paragraph repeatedly, because my grandmother had a habit of talking to people in a low voice from a distance. I loved her dearly, but there were times when I looked forward to reading quietly, and I could hear her asking me something miles away through her front porch screen.. After years of this, I could guess what she was saying, but I still tried to ignore her, so I could read, although, by the time she gave up, the late afternoon birds would begin to whistle loudly above my head. But, you know, I would give my right arm to have one second of those moments again.
All right, I suppose that's enough head in the clouds dreamlike writing. I hope I haven’t bored you or taken too much of your time, posting such a long post.
It’s just that I really wanted to tell all of you where I have been since earlier this year, because I have had an awful fear that you may feel deserted, or like I never cared for any of you at all, and I hope that after you read all of this, you will realize that, that was not the case. (How could you not)
Hence, I would like to apologize to all of the special friends I have met blogging, and to my only pen pal, with whom I love dearly. (You know who you are…and I am dying to write you.)
Finally, another reason for the length of this post, and my delay in posting it, is my computer has two of those awful trogan viruses, and Dell has advised me to back up my files and wipe it clean. This is happening at the same time my car broke down, my son’s car broke down, I am out of paper, and my only pen ran out of ink- However, not all is lost, because I do have a huge red mark-so-lot. I am not sure if I spelled mark-so-lot correctly, but I am sure you now what I mean.
Burgh…life, but I will return, and when I do, and I haven’t pawned my digital camera to fix the car, because the computer lost all my manuscripts, I will take a picture of what I have written on my walls in red mark-so-lot, due to writers withdrawal.
I love you all and I will return-
"Till the next time we say good-bye" - Mick Jagger
Motherhood is an art impossible to explain, one which requires a vast sea of love, devotion, compassion, and understanding, unmatched by any affection we will ever know again.- Ann Clemmons
Words are the core of our souls, without written, vocal or lyrical expression we lose sight of one another or worse, ourselves. Words bring forth the essence of the human spirit; so express yourself without abandon.
Beatrix Potter’s Journal, 17 November 1896, from the National Trust collection.
Alone in her world
of make believe
weaving her stories
of magic and light
She brings joy
to the eyes
of innocent minds
less jaded and free
For only they know
what's in her heart
holding the secrets
she guards so well
Life's hidden mysteries
belong to those
whose wisdom and truth
shine on in imagination
Written for Ann
Of The Horoscope Junkie
Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”'
F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Lines from The Great Gatsby)
"A Southerner Talks Music"
"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us."
An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
"I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself"