Wednesday, March 27, 2013

They Want My Ass Back

A couple of months ago at a Bartlesville WordWeavers writers group meeting we were told about the Listen To Your Mother-Oklahoma City project.  If we wanted to participate we needed to submit a piece, anything that had to do with motherhood. Men were encouraged to enter as well. If the piece was accepted, we would be extended an invitation to audition. Some of those auditioning would go on to be cast in the live performance in May to read our work and our performances might eventually be uploaded to the LTYM YouTube site sometime after the performance.

Did I have a story that I could tell, in something other than my normally long story-telling style?  Well, I decided to give it a shot.

I wrote and read the piece out loud to my only children still at home---my dogs.  I was so taken back by their response---whining, barking, jumping up and down at my feet; I rushed to submit the piece.  Sitting at the computer after I hit the send button, I realized my four-legged children were continuing their antics.  Then I realized it was past their dinner time.  I immediately began to have misgivings about my submission but couldn’t find the un-send button in my email program. (I am computer challenged at times.)

I was really surprised several days later when I was told my story had been accepted and I was scheduled for an audition in OKC.  It was great timing because I was going to be in OKC visiting my son that Sunday.  Then a week before the audition my son called to tell me there had been a change in his plans. 

I was sitting firmly on my Pity Pot feeling miffed and depressed considering possible solutions when my friend, Jennifer McMurrian called to ask if I wanted to ride to OKC with her for the audition.  Well, that knocked me right off my Pity Pot. I was excited all over again.  There were forms I would need to fill out, and the LTYM directors needed an additional copy of my manuscript.

I read though the manuscript again and I wasn’t happy.  I did a little tweaking leaving it basically the same.  Then I used the timer to make sure I was within the time constraints.  I had just edited, cutting the piece down, how had the reading time increased?  I edited out some more.

Finally, it was the night before the audition and I re-read the piece yet again. There was the part about….should I edit that out as well?  I had a piece rejected for publication last fall (they accepted some of my other work) because I refused to edit out an expletive. (Hey, it was the character that said it, not me.) I can be stubborn and often regret it later. So I edited yet again--- I was now within the acceptable time constraints.

I went to bed; I could not get to sleep. The last time I remember looking at the alarm clock the bright red lights indicated it was 3:47 a.m.  We weren’t leaving until noon, I could sleep in. But a little before 7 a.m. I was making a b-line trip to the bathroom.  In the next two hours I made five more trips.  Did I have food poisoning?  No fever, no chills.  I decided to attribute it to nerves and looked on the bright side; I must have lost at least ten pounds.  I prayed for more nerves before noon, if I had already lost ten, I only needed to lose about twenty more pounds to be at my goal weight.

Jennifer arrived precisely as scheduled and we headed out. Once on the road my stomach started giving me fits again.  Bless her heart, Jennifer was very understanding, either that, or she was really worried about her car seats. Anyhow, she promptly found a public restroom. 

We arrived in OKC with an hour to spare. Within ten minutes my picture was taken---the earlier ten pound weight loss was not apparent--- and I was in front of the producer/directors Heather Davis, Misti Pryor and Julie Bohannon. I shook. My stomach would not settle.  I read. I cried.  (I didn’t expect that.)  I apologized for my lack of smoothness and explained my last minute edits and why I made them. The three women all did their best to make me feel better and thanked me. 

I waited while Jennifer, I was sure, sailed quite professionally through her audition.  We went to a late lunch at Earl’s Rib Palace.  I asked the waiter if famous authors came into the restaurant frequently.  He said, “Not that I know of.” So I introduced him to Jennifer and she introduced me. We were having a blast. The waiter gave us some complementary ballpoint pens. (A whole other story.)

Shortly before we arrived back in Bartlesville, Heather called on Jennifer’s cell. It was in speaker mode.  We had both been selected for OKC-LTYM 2013.  But the way Heather told me meant so much. They were the sweetest words, “Barb, we want your ass back!”

Friends, family, Meandering Mental Musings blog readers and PolicyMic followers, I encouraged all of you to attend LTYM 2013. If you are not in the OKC area to see our performance, please support the LTYM production in the city nearest you.  Ticket, location, and time information can be found by clicking on the LTYM link on this blog.

I hope to see many of you there.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Embracing Crazy

People say delusions are bad things.  Are they? This week my deceased son, Ben came to my rescue as surely as if he were with me in the flesh.

A newly downloaded and installed driver failed to work following reformatting months ago of my computer, and a now needed but seldom used piece of hardware wouldn't function.

Frustrated, I chastised my son out loud for dying and leaving me in the lurch. Ben was my computer guru and all things technical problem solver. Following my uttered chastisement, in a flash I began searching a catch-all bookcase in the corner. What led me to that bookcase? I felt my son urging me on, and I pulled a dust covered plastic box from the shelf.  Where had this box come from? I didn't remember it.  And as if I had no control over my actions, I began searching the contents of the box and found the needed original driver disc. But now finding it, what was I suppose to do with it? Again, with seemingly no control over my physical movements, I watched as if outside of my own body, seeing myself insert the disc in the computer bay and I gazed in amazement as the needed driver self installed and the useless piece of equipment now sprang to life.

It had to be Ben. But my son is dead, or is he? I heard Ben’s voice assure me he is not dead, his body is just ---gone.  He is always with me when I need him. Wiping tears from my face, I said “thank-you” out loud, and felt the embrace of his hug.

Surely I must be losing my mind. Then I heard Ben’s laugh and it became louder as I decided I was having some sort of delusion and therefore I was going crazy. I heard him snort and tell me if this experience is a delusion and that means I’m crazy, then crazy is the only way to truly be.

After several hours growing more concerned over my possible deteriorating sanity, I decided to distract myself by watching a dvd university course on writing.

I pondered the fact that my ancient dvd player did not have the capability of selecting each individual class. The remote was long lost. I either had to watch a series of six lectures at one sitting or let the dvd play while I did other things until the class I wanted to watch began.

While dwelling on those thoughts I heard,  “Ma-mom!” Again, it was Ben’s voice. I looked around and saw no one; but he had my attention.

And just as before, I began to move automatically, as if not in physical control of my body. I began digging through a wooden box. A box that still, after six long years, I did not touch because it contained many of my son’s belongings that I still could not bring myself to sort through. What was I doing? Near the bottom of the box, my fingers closed around and withdrew something--- a remote control of some sort. It was Ben's. I studied it, not understanding its function. I compared it to the dvd player. I spoke out loud, “It doesn't go to this dvd player. It’s a different brand.” 

To which I heard Ben with his familiar exasperated sigh answer, “Just find some fucking batteries for it.”

No question, Ben was indeed communicating with me. I installed the batteries. Not knowing which buttons to push, my finger somehow went to exactly the right one, and now I could watch each class course in whatever sequence I wanted. Again I said, “Thank you” out loud, and again--- I felt Ben’s hug. This time, I laughed.

I have since pondered if somewhere in my deep subconscious I knew where that disc and the remote were all along, and despite my total lack of abilities in all things technical, I have somehow tapped into a mechanical knowledge that until last Wednesday lay dormant. I have come to the conclusion that is not the case. But I did tap into something. Something wonderful. Because, I heard him, I felt him and if all truth be known, I smelled him. 

If what I experienced were delusions and I am crazy, I will agree with my son Ben, crazy is the only way to truly BE.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

is there a difference between being awake and being asleep

maybe it is called stream of conscious because thoughts just sort of float around like a leaf on a stream so why is it that my thoughts sometimes go into swirly mode like water down a drain but instead of getting sucked away i cant sleep be because the swirling wont stop and then just when i am making progress on the verge of figuring something out or doing something important this drowning feeling comes over me and i am out like a light but lights use electricity and we know that electricity and water dont mix they even made a commercial about it now if someone could figure out how to make a ground fault interrupter for peoples thoughts maybe that is what pharmaceutical drugs are suppose to do but they mess people up dulling all that is good and magnifying the undesirable parts so mass shootings take place which should draw attention to the fact that drugs fry brains just like another commercial used to show but now they dont show it anymore because people might link it to pharmaceutical drugs like they should as if the mass killing arent enough to draw attention to the fact but everything in the media is smoke and mirrors to keep you from seeing the truth by getting you to focus on something else instead of what needs to be considered and taken seriously is that the same as looking through a glass darkly does that mean i am wrapped up in conspiracy theories and i am paranoid but some people say just because you are paranoid doesnt mean they arent out to get you and are some people the same as the they i refer too maybe the solution is meditation and trying to empty my brain of all thought by focusing on just one thing like figuring out who they are and is you me but then i just fall asleep like everyone else who needs to wake up