Category Archives: Metamorphosis

Transformation

Tottering on stubby legs,
Reaching for the world,
Another child once nested
Now slowly comes uncurled.
Stretching out and learning,
Forgetting childhood woes,
Opening to each new thing,
Reforming as she grows.
Meet her in the springtime
And meet her in the fall.
The child you met the first time
Is no longer there at all.
One more child a woman,
Now a mother, now a grand.
Always we are changing,
Led by nature’s hand.

Libraries cannot answer
If changing has an end,
For we know not if transformation
Ends around the bend.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/transformation/

Now, Voyager

                                                          209a3984-32bf-375b-99f0-3a7c774a75b0      Now, Voyager

I love transformation movies: ugly ducklings turned beautiful, wallflowers who become the belle of the ball, villains turned saviors, shady ladies turned good girls, wild horses tamed.  If you can name one famous example of each from the movies, you win the prize, but for me the top entry in the first category would have to be Bette Davis in “Now Voyager.”

I’ve always been surprised that they haven’t done a remake of the film, but on the other hand, I don’t think they could probably equal the romantic pathos of the dowdy, overweight, aging and submissive spinster Bette Davis, living with her dominating mother, her one rebellion–cigarettes sneaked on the sly.  As her mother slips the noose of control ever tighter, Bette is “saved” by a nervous breakdown and a visiting psychiatrist who persuades her mother that she must be sent to a “rest farm” where the transformation takes place.

The resultant makeover, sea voyage, love affair and. . . but wait . . .  I’ll tell no more, for if you haven’t already seen the film, it is a must-see and I don’t want to issue further spoilers.  As a matter of fact, if you have seen it, we should both probably see it again.  The last time I saw it was in VHS form ordered from Amazon twelve years ago and yes, I still do have a VHS player hidden away somewhere in the highest reaches of my house.

At any rate, I have been diverted by the film review when my real intention was to talk about the title and plot itself and the significance it has in my own life; for I, too, seek a transformation.  Just once I would like to be that stunningly glamorous, thin mysterious stranger who turns all heads.  Yes, superficial, but I’ve always thought it would be fun to experience being that woman who could have any man in the place.

For too many years, books and movies seemed more real than the world around me.  My boring existence in a small town could not be all there was to life.  Surely, if it were, then all those exciting books and movies would never have been written, for where would they have come from except from the patterns of other places and other lives that contained more possibilities than a small dusty town in the middle of South Dakota prairie?

Yes, I did eventually voyage off into life and I found places more exciting–more in line with my own interests.  And although I had love affairs, married the man of my dreams, had careers I felt adequate at, traveled to exotic climes and never had trouble making friends, at age 67, I have still never been the femme fatale of my childish and teenage and middle-age dreams. I have made starts and even accomplished some of the goals.  I’ve lost weight, found the perfect haircut, bought more stylish clothes.  I’ve gone to clubs and danced unabashedly, joined internet introduction clubs, gone to singles parties. But still, at my best, there is some quality lacking in my makeup–some ineffable clue that I am available, sensual, smart and fun to be with.  What is it?  My entire life I have wondered why, with a few notable exceptions, I will invariably be the last woman at the table asked to dance. For years I believed it was because of my weight and at present that may be so, but even at my skinniest, there was some signal I sent out that made me unapproachable or unappealing or uncharismatic to most men, and as old and wise and introspective and analytical as I have become in my middle-to-old age, I do not know what it is.

Have you ever known someone who is doing something wrong and who just can’t get it right?  Everyone knows what it is but no one tells them, for fear of hurting their feelings.  And so they go on in life, never quite getting what they want and not having a clue why that is.  Why don’t we just tell each other?  It would be so much simpler.  But, the truth is that we probably would not listen even if our friends told us.  We would find excuses. We would not believe them, no matter how many people told us the same thing, because there seems to be some radar causing us to become who we are–strengths, talents and faults all combined.

A complete stranger sitting next to me at a banquet once said to me, “You don’t need that!” when I reached for the dessert held out to me by the waiter.  I was astonished, insulted, irate.  I wanted to take two desserts and put the bastard in his place! But the truth was, maybe he was that one person in my life who decided to tell me the truth.

Today when I got up to let the dogs out and give them their morning meal, I saw the dusty blistered card of diet pills on the kitchen island.  I broke one off and swallowed it with a long drink of water.  Perhaps I’ll start again that journey towards sylphdom.  I’ll lose dress sizes, get a facelift to deal with the resultant sags and wrinkles, fit into sexier clothes, go back on OkCupid, meet another stranger grown familiar through words over the internet.  Maybe it’s still not too late to be an object of desire. Or, perhaps I’ll just write about it.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/642826/Now-Voyager-Movie-Clip-I-Met-A-Doctor-In-Rio.html

The Prompt:Silver Screen–Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/silver-screen/

Strangely enough, this post also ended up answering today’s prompt so I’m posting it there as well: But No Cigar–Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out? https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/but-no-cigar/

Who Knew?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompts: New and Skills.

Who Knew?

When new was new, I was crazy about it. A new friend, new dress, new favorite food. But what I liked best was new places. I yearned to travel, even if it was just to the next town. Strangely enough, as tiny as the towns were in my part of South Dakota, people from neighboring towns did not mix. We went roller skating in Draper, 7 miles away, but when our eyes chanced to stray to Draper boys, we were taken aside by several of the “popular” Draper girls—the cheerleaders, in fact, and told to stay away from their boys. This really happened. We played their school in sports, went roller skating every Sunday in their school gym, even went to movies in their tiny theater, but we did not mix. When we tried, we’d been warned.

I think I visited Presho, Vivian and Kennebec—all 20 to 40 miles away—no more than once in the 18 years I lived in Murdo, population 700. White River, 38 miles away, we more regularly visited since they had shows on Mondays as well as weekends, and the movies were just ten cents, whereas ours cost twenty-five cents! But, never did we ever socialize with White River girls. The boys, however, were a different matter.

The first boy I ever kissed was from White River, and we went steady for two years. I think I’ve told the story of that first kiss in another blog posting. Suffice it to say that after putting it off until age 16, it was about time. And, it worked. I was literally dizzy and he had to hold me up for a minute afterwards. He had opened my car door, helped me out, then folded me in his arms and kissed me. I was so discombobulated that instead of walking to my own car, I opened the back door of his car and started to get into the back seat. Not for the reasons you might think. My best friend and a boy who (as I recall) later turned to cattle rustling were already in the back seat. I just did so in utter confusion. And no, I had never had a drink in my life at the time.

At any rate, this story has veered off in a direction unintended, so just suffice it to say that after that, life continued to present new after new and I accepted most of them. I traveled widely, loved a few loves, pursued a few careers and wound up in Mexico. Now, at age 67, I suddenly find that new isn’t as necessary to me. The older I get, the more I realize that everything is everywhere. You just have to look for it closely.

No longer is it necessary for me to travel to faroff third world countries. It is exciting to take the same walk on the same beach day after day since the sea presents new treasures each day. I love getting up each morning and writing first thing, having Pepe come each Monday to give me a 1½ hour massage after which I plop into the hot tub. I love spending hours in my studio and sometimes hate having to leave home even for activities I have enjoyed in the past.

The point is, that the older I get, the more I want to spend all my time doing what I love most. Writing. Art. The fact that each endeavor creates a new piece is getting to be enough “new.”

If I Were Water and You Were Air

The Prompt: For this week’s writing challenge, take on the theme of H2O. What does it mean to be the same thing, in different forms?
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If I Were Water and You Were Air

I used to be restless water—
only the froth and currents
of a moving life.

Now I am still water,
sinking down to where
I can be found
by anyone willing to stand quietly
and look.

Is it true that moving water never freezes?
Is it true that still waters run deep?
Is it true that we are wed in steam?

“What if, caught by air,
it never lets me go?” I ask.

“But even water
turned to air
must fall at last,” you say.

“And what if I fall farther from you?”
I say. “Or what if I never again find banks
that open to contain me?”

I used to be swift flowing water.
Now I am a pool that sinks me deeper every year.
So deep, so deep I sink
that on its way to find me,
even air may lose its way.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/ice-water-steam/

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The Prompt: All Grown Up—When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

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It stretches forever in front of me.
There, no future happens until I create it.
And that is the power of words
that rub like pieces of gravel in my shoe.
I become less of a child in bearing them,
grow to adolescence as I pry them from my shoe.
In storing them on the page, I become my own creator—
writing a new world with each decision of word.
On the page, I can, if I so choose,
grow up again and again.
Each page filled or every edit of the last
becomes another part of me
that tells the same story:
that growing enough to fill the space inside of me
never happens.

 

Waiting for the Bell

DSC07814Nine Minutes to Nine–Retablo by Judy Dykstra-Brown ( 5.5 X 7 X 1.25 inches)

Waiting for the Bell

From my upstairs bedroom window, I could see it all:
who got to school early to be first for tether ball,
the teachers driving up the street, avoiding children running
some children in the sandbox, and other children sunning
stretched out on the teeter-totters, waiting for a ride—
their friend the perfect size to balance, still locked up inside
cleaning off the chalkboards and dusting the erasers
with others who’d been tardy, or perhaps desktop-defacers.

We could hear the school bell toll the warning for
just one more bite of Cream of Wheat—no time for any more.
I stood and watched as sisters sprinted out the door.
Going on without me, for I was only four.
I waited then for recess, spread out on the grass
waiting for the hours and minutes just to pass.
Through open windows, I could hear all the teacher voices
quizzing all the children and listening to their choices.

The teacher on piano, the class singing along—
long before my school days, I’d memorized each song.
At 10:15, the bell was rung and big doors thrown out wide—
one hundred children, all at once, released to the outside.
Some ran to claim the swings and slides, or lined up for the games:
choosing sides for “Send ‘Em” by calling out their names.
But the creaking of the swing chains and whoops up on the slide
could not reveal the mysteries of what was sealed inside.

Year after year I watched and listened, storing up the clues
for the day that I could put on my new school shoes.
I’d have my school bag at my side while mother curled my curls
and keep it with me as I ate my breakfast with the girls,
spooning up my Cream of Wheat but listening for the bell
that warned the time was getting short for me to run pell-mell
across the street and up the stairs in brand new skirt and blouse.
I knew which room to look for.  I could see it from my house.

And then perhaps my mom would stand under our big elm tree
and the singing that she listened for would finally include me!

 The Prompt: August Blues—As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school?

Changing Lines

Changing Lines

Would passion carry the same voltage
or heartbreak the sting
if from the beginning we knew
that every extreme
brings us a step closer to its opposite?
It is that great pendulum of the I Ching—
that flowing from the yin to yang—
that foretells the fall of great regimes
glorious in their altruism
who, reaching their apex,
must head back again
towards cruel tyranny.

If we’d known this from the start,
each Summer Solstice would become
a day of mourning,
knowing that having reached one summit,
there is no further height to climb to.
And tomorrow, the start of our slow descent
will bring us closer to that other summit
where dark will reign.

Part of the power of youth’s sweet ecstasy
as well as bitter heartbreak is that it seems as though
they’ll last forever.
This is the spice of life.
Its bread comes later,
as we recognize that
everything,
everything                   everything
changes          into its
opposite.

Since today is June 21, today’s prompt was to write about the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.