Saturday, July 23, 2011

Shameless, Simply Shameless

Tomorrow, 7/24/2011

Come get some delicious coffee, smoothies, ice cream and desserts at Simply Sweet on Main in Old Town Manassas and stop by to chat about my book, Poems from the Battlefield.

I will be there from 9 a.m. until the visitors stop coming (probably early evening, but you never know).

Books will be available on an ongoing basis at this location. Thank you for supporting local history and local, small business.

Simply Sweet on Main

9360 Main Street, Manassas, VA 20110.
On Main Street in between Church Street and Center Street.
Across the street from the City Tavern.

(571) 379-7285


This broadcast will resume in a few days once the blog owner catches up from vacation. Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Into the Mud

I thought I had a poem lurking, but it turned out to be flash fiction.  I am not sure what is happening to my poetry.  It seems to be taking a nap.  Okay.  Maybe it needs the sleep.  

Into the Mud

Then there was that day you slipped in the mud. 

Or at least I think you slipped.  That’s what you told me, but every time I try to get the stain out of my pant leg where you rubbed against me when I stood by you after, (as if bleach will do anything more to khaki than burn a hole after 21 attempts at eradicating a dirty memory), I rewind, run the clip again, watch it from an angle I might have missed.  Maybe if I observed from a nearby tree, or from above, or from behind instead of from a turned head three feet in front of you on that narrow path,  which is how I saw it first—you, holding that white Pomeranian under your right, brown, body-builder’s arm (“They’re great little dogs,” you said, though all I saw before that day was a skittish ball that didn’t at all resemble a canine, maybe a puffy something I would use with shower gel in the morning, but not the creature you said you “adored,” the one you carried like a trophy, so long as it didn’t wiggle too much).

This is how I saw it because, after all, I suppose, I didn’t see it all. By the time I turned my head, you had already hit the ground, and the only reason I knew was I heard the abbreviated thwarmpth of object meeting mud, mud a few inches deep.

You fell on the arm that held the dog, she, unhurt, saved by your mighty elbow and the white t-shirt now sacrificed for her sake.  And you, your hair already claimed by grime, rolled onto your back,
lifted the dog—your dog—between two great hands, raised her towards the sun and laughed, “I am your redeemer!  Come, now.  Be baptized!”

You lowered her, pinned her to your filthy chest, dipped your free hand in the shallow beside you, curled your fingers into a chalice, brought it to the dog, dumped the stuff on her and massaged it into her hair.

You took more and scrubbed it over her face, her snout, her ears, against the natural fall of that fair fur on her back, and she cried, not the cry of any dog I have ever heard, but the cry of all things that live and die.

The next time you laughed, she slipped through your slimy fingers and was gone. 

“Hey!” you yelled.

“Come back!  Come back!”

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt
July 12, 2011

Friday, July 08, 2011

Blogger's Blarg

Actually, it's not blarg.  But I love that word, so I thought I would keep it in the title.  I've just been too busy to blog and write creatively, which is good in a way because it means I am employed, but bad because there is a poem lurking somewhere under my mind's bed, along with a myriad of dust bunnies. 

Now there's a term for you.  Who coined the phrase "dust bunnies"?  

People really need to get more credit for blurting out expressions that stick.  I searched for the origin of "dust bunnies" and didn't come up with anything more informational than a warning about feeding them.  But maybe I just didn't look long enough.  Maybe the answer really is waiting for me in a YouTube video.

I am glad I did the search, though, because I stumbled across a new mantra that is sure to make me a happier person if I remember to recite it daily:

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.  ~Phyllis Diller, Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints, 1966

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This Morning's Gita

A man who cares only about himself
doesn't do his duty.
So always do your duty.
Do it as well as you can,
and don't worry
about how things will turn out.

--The Gita

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Anger Within--and Without

Okay, I admit it. I have anger management issues--not really live, but in writing. If I get angry--really angry--in the physical world, I get anxiety, cry, maybe slightly confrontational, but never the way I get when I blog.

I also have ADHD, serious PMS and anxiety, but I am not using that as an excuse.  These are hazards, yes, but not excuses.  I need to control those conditions better.  In many areas, I compensate for the disabilities, but I haven't quite mastered the temper thing.

As a kid growing up in a very strict, highly politically charged and often angry home in which children were mostly not part of the decision making process or offered the chance to voice an opinion, I learned writing was a safe place to vent.  Sometimes through fiction, but more often through poetry and prose, I unloaded the rage that stretched my heart across my lungs, suffocating me.  I hid my diary, but if someone read it, so long as I hadn't been writing about puberty, I didn't care.  Those who bothered to steal my notebook of anger deserved what they got for reading it.  Besides, part of me wanted people to know how much I was hurting.

I held on to that attitude in my adult life.  No one forces anyone to read anything.  Even in school, students have the right to refuse to read.  That refusal typically results in a failing grade, but it doesn't result in torture or death.  It's not illegal to flunk out of school.  It's not illegal to be ignorant.  It's also not illegal to be close minded. 

It's not illegal to rant on a blog or even in real life.  It's not illegal to cuss or freak out over politicians and community leaders.  These things aren't illegal, but they are not necessarily healthy or effective.  I want to be both.  Sometimes I hit the mark, sometimes I don't.

Lately, I have turned back to the ancient beliefs and writings that have produced the most peaceful cultures in the world.  How did they do it?  How did those masters learn to control their minds, bodies and hearts?  Meditation and contemplation, of course, helped, but how does someone like me attain those goals?  I don't aspire to be a Buddhist nun or anything, but I want to master those qualities that make the planet a better place.

I know there are some things I do well and other things I do that indeed make the world a better place. But in other areas, I am failing, and I don't like that. I don't like the guilt associated with it. I don't like the feeling of not meeting my own goals. I get impatient with myself, even though the old masters would say not to.  So not only do I need to reach the goal, I need to learn how to manage (or not manage) the process.

In spite of my occasional rage, I am a Type A spiritual seeker.  I wonder what the masters would say about that?

I'm working on it, okay?

Let go of anger.
Let go of pride.
When you are bound by nothing,
you go beyond sorrow.

-- The Dhammapada

Monday, June 27, 2011

More Wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita

from "I am Justice"

All your thoughts, all your actions,
All your fears and disappointments,
Offer them to me, clear-hearted;
Know them all as passing visions.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What gender am I?

This is hilarious.  Apparently, I blog like a man.  At least that's what this website, Gender Guesser, believes, based on writing samples from my blog:

Genre: Informal
Female = 581
Male = 874
Difference = 293; 60.06%
Verdict: MALE

I am mulling this over.  Is my writing style macho because I cuss?  Is it testosterone ridden because, when I blog, I usually use short sentences?  What exactly constitutes masculine or feminine writing?  Would my poetry yield the same results?  How many samples should I feed the assessor?

Inquiring minds want to know.

BTW, thanks, Slam Dunks, for posting the link to Gender Guesser.  This has been fun.