Postcard #40: Lughnasadh Garden Glories

They are tiny still life home movie posters, these photographs I share with you. All around me there are so many little joys I find everyday I can’t keep to myself. Everyday, as July grows into the first of August, my heart hurts open wide, like an egg cracking, firewood snapping, insect bite itching and burning, and I crave to burst outward, spilling all these joys all across the universe. In a lava flow, streams of stars, sparkling, ranting, raving, shining for your attention, I can’t wait for the relief of finally sitting down and seeing your reaction… to match mine, like mine, when I walk through the woods and see the garden glories smile back at me.

I cannot photograph a single flower now without also capturing a bee or fly hard at work. I admire their every move. They do not seem to mind I’m there. I could tell that the bee on the thistle was old. Its wings were tattered at the edges, but perhaps this nothing much — how long do they live? And does it matter? I don’t think it matters to them. It was very happy.

Just across the trail, directly behind me, was another happy fellow; an amber wasp dancing along brilliant mustard yellow flowers.

I’m never creeped out by these little guys. For one thing, they are not in my home, I am visiting their space, or I’m just walking through their work place. On this week’s end before Lughnasadh, I decide to make it a mission to really take notice of these creatures and appreciate them.

Most of the time I just walk and think of other things, human stuff. I am most often depressed, my mind is full of desperate cares I cannot cure, and so all I do is the act of walking to clear my mind into just the concern of putting one foot in front of the other. When I deliberately set my thoughts to think about the lives of other living things, I forget my humanity, like taking a vacation from myself, and temporarily enter the exotic world of wild and wonderful things.

And the wild things look back at me, wary, curious, innocent. When I took the photo of the fly with the white underbelly, a group of children all tied together by a string leashed to their teacher (cutest thing to see) slowly walked by me. The teacher bade the kids to step slowly around me because I was taking a photograph. “There are people who use the nature reserve to study,” the teacher almost whispered, and the children quieted down, their big eyes ooh-ing and ahh-ing me, “remember what I told you, this is not just a park, this is a classroom. Let’s not disturb the lady…”

I don’t know why, but I love it when adults and children call me “lady” because it sounds sweet, not because it sounds like they are considering me an aristocrat. “Lady” is like frosting next to the “cake” of my name.

The nature reserve is not the only place to commune with garden bugs. I found plenty more, but many were too quick and jumpy for me to photograph. So I crawl up close to the flowers, stick my face and head and hands into the plants and trees, sniffing out critters, pressing my cheeks close to leaves and petals, and feeling so much love I could die the happy death of my dreams.

Then I run out of words. My most favorite Hibiscus flowers have bloomed again, a sure sign that August is about to come. I look into the center of the flower and see a star, my star, and I think of my God, and he tells me to stop advertising my sorrows and complaints and just get on with my work so I better listen.

When I do, I get back home, I hold my pencil over paper, I remember to smile when I think of my friends, fight the fear of loss, and draw out of love for them, draw upon my love for everyone, and there’s no more hurt or bursting, just a gentle gurgling-giggling from within.

Broken Sword Nightmare

I had a nightmare last night and it has left me shaking all day long, so much so, I’ve made extra efforts to calm myself today. In it, a friend of mine, and several others, treated me not-so-friendly. Hence why I filed this dream into the nightmare category. The dream may only be a product of my paranoia and an anxiousness to hear from my friends again. I do not think they realize how much the internet is my only source of communication with them. Most of them live out of my state, I do not have long distance, so I cannot call them. This leaves me in a state of panic when long pauses of time span between us. The panic gets worse when I notice that they communicate regularly with several other friends. I’m not stupid. My comments are right there and no one’s responding to me. I just wait and wait and wait. And it eats, eats, eats, eats, and eats at me til I shake like a frightened little puppy during a thunderstorm. I immediately think the worst has happened. Then I attack myself, because it must mean I’ve done wrong.

I’ve been through this before and always fear going through it again.  Because I only get ignored when a friend is about to dump me. I get the silent treatment when they’re about to tell me they are sick of hearing from me. They are suddenly busy not because they really are busy, but because they’d rather be busy than talk to me. Plans to meet up get cancelled over and over again because I was never a priority in their lives to begin with. Just the little invitations and hints to get together were the nice, superficial ways people generally always say “let’s do lunch sometime” and “we have to go out for a coffee one of these days” and they don’t really ever mean it. It’s just the pat on the back, the shake of the hand, maybe that’s all, and the “be on your way now” sort of thing. Yet I always fall for it. Because it’s my hope and dream to visit with friends. I don’t want to keep it only online forever. Everyday it is my ambition to have enough money to travel just to drop in on friends I haven’t seen or have yet to see.

I want to make it REAL! Let me be a REAL friend to you!

But let me describe to you my nightmare…

The dream started out nice enough. I found myself in the dance studio, happy as can be because I had just received the two Balady scimitars I’ve been working hard for. I pulled them out of their packaging, admiring how shiny they were. But then guy friend rudely grabbed it out of my hand! He pulled one of the blades til it was like taffy, next he tossed it in the air, and it landed on the floor. “Why did you do that?! My sword is not yours to take!” I scolded. When I retrieved the scimitar, he once again snatched it out my hands and said, “Look, I didn’t do any serious damage…” and then he tested the blade by holding it against his hand (a scimitar made only for belly dancing is dull, so he wouldn’t slice his skin) but then the steel cracked as if made of hard plastic. “Ulp!” He grabbed both parts and looked at me about to laugh, the way people do when they are nervous because they just did something really bad to upset you, “I didn’t meant to do that,” he added, and there was nothing else he could say. He handed me back the parts, unable to stop laughing.

“You shouldn’t have let me touch it,” he said, “if it was so important to you.”

Instead of getting upset, I walked immediately to the manufacturer. By way of an elevator that resembled a closet, I pushed a button that lit up white, the little door slid open, and I entered this elaborate Steampunk-esque labyrinth warehouse world. With my broken sword and the spare in hand, an electronic voice told me to sit on this rubber seat and strap myself in by these silly-looking suspenders. Suddenly I flew away high above this factory where there were hundreds of laborers and shelves of merchandise — all resembling a scene out of Brazil.

I was deposited in a dusty, gray office, my swords given a big DEFECTIVE stamp in red and instead of being given my money back, or a replacement, I was given two lions to take care of — one black, the other white. What the hell am I supposed to do with these creatures? I was never given a reason. Then I was hurriedly pushed out of the factory and into a very busy market square full of women, children and baby animals.

I managed to keep the lions from eating them, yet it was a struggle. The whole while, I was searching for my friend, thinking, “How could he do this to me? Those were my swords!” The black lion got loose, I had to chase it and calm it down while all around me people were screaming for their lives and cursing my name. Those that were not trying to escape took to attacking me, several of my guy friends’ ex-girlfriends were hitting me, calling me names, and throwing cabbage at me.

Then I saw my friend Miya come up with an axe — ! I did not know if she was going to kill me or the black lion. The black lion clawed into the ground and buried itself. Just as the women attacking me were about to take a giant rock to my head, Miya chopped off the rope I was using as a leash for the lions. The white lion turned into a tiny kitten that turned into a small white jasper pendant. “THAT’s mine!” Miya proudly proclaimed, and she grabbed it out of my hand with this angry look on her face that told me she disapproved of me, like a head mistress about to discipline an unruly student kind of thing. After that scuffle, everyone backed off from me and went about other business. “What is going on?” I asked Miya and she just sardonically smiled. “Oh,” she breathed into a low whisper, “you haven’t heard…” She was about to tell me something secret, I anxiously awaited her information, but then a train whistle blew, and the whole market place emptied!

That emptiness was there for a long while. Like being in ground zero of the end of the world after the end has happened and there’s no one left but me.

Next all I remember was running. Then I fell. I saw two mutual friends I have only met online. One extended his hand to me to help me up, the other walked away. I saw that she was talking to my buddy. The guy friend who helped me up told me to “shhhh!” They all faded away, further and further away, the harder I tried to reach for them, the more they turned insubstantial, and the more I was returning to my bed and then became fully awake and crying.

I woke a half an hour before my alarm, freezing, tearful, shaking, but I stayed in bed, my cat lying on my chest to warm me up, and I sang to myself to keep my spirits up. By the time the alarm went off, I was stable enough to move about, splash some water on my face and really start the day. I told myself this was nothing but a nightmare! I promised I would forget about getting online and just get work done…

Yet I’m in the middle of a paid illustration gig that requires me to be in constant contact with my client, so I gotta do what I gotta do. I have to keep going. Checking Facebook and my Gmail is unavoidable, and that also means facing another day of no responses from a friend I’m anxious to hear from who has yet to even say “Hello! Come visit me as soon as you get paid, Val! Everything’s fine!” I pray my anxiety is just, anxiety. I interpret the dream, symbol by symbol, as follows:

The Balady Scimitars: Balady or Baladi (بلدي) is an Arabic word meaning “native” or “local.” These scimitars were the kind that were used by peasants, a common sword found in the country.

These scimitars I have been working toward for months to buy so I can use them for belly dancing. They are valuable to me because I have never bought a sword for myself. I have given away swords as gifts, once I gave one to my guy friend even, but now I regret I have no swords of my own. I love swords.

Swords represent to me uncommon beauty and power that I can only compare with the feeling of confidence. Whenever I handle a real sword, I feel that power.

My friend breaking the sword: When he pulls and breaks what I have been longing to have, I think he really breaks my confidence.

The Manufacturer and the Factory: I believe that these two places represent the Creator and the act of Creation — I am plugging into my source of consciousness and being. They act as my mind telling me there is something not working right in my thoughts. I am judged “defective” and not given back my confidence. I am sent back into the world at the mercy of two driving forces, the two lions.

The Two Lions: The symbolism of this is almost too easy to break down! I have bi-polar disorder, so the two lions must represent the two emotional polar opposites within struggling for control that I must referee. The black lion is my wild and hungry anger. The white lion is my wild passion and exuberant love. Both have to be leashed or they will lash out and hurt whoever gets in my way.

The Market Square: This place was filled with innocents, children and baby animals, things I want to protect and not let “my lions” harm. The women there weren’t even selling anything, they were just hanging out. Getting around them without letting the lions go crazy was a struggle, so I believe the market was an obstacle course to see how well-behaved I can be. Most of my anxiety now is social, dealing with being overly self conscious about accidentally offending someone, saying the wrong thing, or never knowing who is silently disapproving of me.

This developed from a situation I was in last year when I lost a very important friend who influenced a group of her friends, people I liked very much, to think I was “on the attack” and not worth knowing anymore. I lost so much confidence after that, it’s been an up-hill battle, one I’ve gained strength from since, yet since it’s taking me a long while to heal, I’m still sensitive about. My old girl friend hurt me enough to give me a complex over how I treat my friends — I’m paranoid of losing them and paranoid that, just like she did, they’re going to gang up on me and suddenly refuse to talk and then, good-bye! *shivers*

The Attack: This symbolizes what has happened to me in the past and what I fear most happening again and again and again; the fighting, hurt, rejection, and shunning by women I wish I could be friends with — they attack me for no reason, or for some reason I am not told why — and there’s no reasoning with them. I’m the enemy automatically, like being their scapegoat.

Miya with the Axe: My friend Miya has long been a confidant, someone I have a lot in common with, yet different enough from me so it’s not weird. For many years she’s been on my side, and I’ve been on her’s, and even when we don’t see eye-to-eye, there is always common ground for us to stand on. I believe she represents trustworthy friendship, yet a friendship that has changed. The Axe she carries frees me from attachment.

The Black Lion Buries Itself and the White Lion Becomes a Pendant: Both symbolize the taming down of my emotions — anger lies buried, passion shrinks. Miya takes my passion for herself, claiming it belongs to her. Maybe there is something I forgot to return to her?

The Emptiness: Just loneliness, nothing more.

Running and Falling: Typical chase symbolism found in most dreams — there is a goal I’m working toward and I seem to not quite make it work. I believe this represents my project. I get close to finishing, then something trips me up, a distraction, interruptions, something stresses me out, and sometimes I fall asleep in the middle of drawing! It’s my concentration that I seem to be chasing after.

The Friend Who Helped Me Up: He has cheered me up, it’s true, and I thank him for his support. Because that’s all anyone needs. Just someone who says, “Hang in there!”

The Fading Friends: My interpretation of this is they are physically far away and I have not spoken to them. In reality, that’s the truth. On the internet, that makes them seem like they are making me invisible, especially when they are a vivid presence on their social networks.

After writing out my dream, and reviewing my personal symbolism, I feel much better because I know what my mind is telling me now and I have something to work with to make things better for myself. I may still be dealing with residue from a past relationship that went wrong and anxieties over the possibility I may not get to visit my guy friend any time soon, but that doesn’t mean I should let this nightmare keep me in a state of panic.

The shaking stopped right in the middle of me writing this blog post. I love how that happens. How my words all fall into place like this. One of these days soon I should tell you about how I recall my dreams so well. The easiest answer I can give you immediately is that I do not know how I do it so well because I’ve always been able to! From toddler age to adult, my dream life is a vivid playground. Sometimes its all silly, at other times spiritual and visionary, and then down right theatrical! I do not always write my dreams down. I used to, but then it takes a long while to record the details because as I write more memories rise up to the surface. It seems the more I focus on the dream, especially when I first wake up, the more I remember. Perhaps that’s the key to developing better dream recall: write while the dream is still fresh in your mind.

Postcard #39: Nowhere, Somewhere

When I can’t sleep, I pace, I can’t stay inside, I embrace the blessing of being too much awake, and I walk into the sunrise.

Mist and fog slowly pull away and leave tears in million beads behind… Tears clinging to everything like upside-down-rain-that-will-not-fall. I walk through it, taking a bath with my clothes on, let it seep in between my toes, soak my pants, and thrill to the way pine branches wet with the tears slap my face clean.

My early morning spa.

In the distance, I think I see the shapes of people. Yet this is nowhere, somewhere, and I am alone…  except for the hare darting back into the juniper bush behind me.

Hours from now the heat will wash all of this away, but in this moment, my moment, I spare a second for a thought of you, and soon it evaporates into a yawn and a care for my bed and I can smell my pillows already and I want to hold my cat. I am safe now as the sunlight grows. As I step back home, the magic is over. People are starting their cars and leaving for work. The spell of seeming like I am the only person left awake in the world is broken.

But my dreams have only begun.

Postcard #38: Morning After Tragedy, In Living Colors

The colors of my first reaction burst in a hot rainbow of anxiety.
First_Reaction

Alarm_Shock My heart is hit, my head is hurt, the ache is sudden, my whole body slammed with the numb heat of panic, and my arms go heavy with emptiness. I feel as if one of my own has been attacked. I put myself immediately into the scene described to me. I imagine my brother, my nephews, my friends… they could be there, this could be about them, this could happen here or anywhere.

Pink Pink is not always a color I associate with cute things. Pink is in the thick of our insides, in our brains, in the guts, it’s a sore color, a raw color, the color of scraped skin…  This pink is electric, it is peeled off me, it is irritated, it has kept me alarmed and wanting relief.

Hurt_in_the_HeartThe hurt cools into an icy concern — an unsettled sparkling of chills that tickle over the skin of my arms, neck, and legs, manifesting into goose-bumps to the point where I feel as if I am made of prickly pear cactus.  This ache is hollow, makes my stomach rumble as if I’m hungry, and I get dizzy, about to faint.  When I close my eyes, this is the color I see behind my eye lids.
Sense_out_of_MadnessWhen shock stings me, the only comfort to keep me standing is to reach for reason. Why did this happen? Who did this? Why did they do this? Were they mentally ill? Or were they just cruel? What would drive someone to do something like this? Why did these people have to suffer? Why does their demise make me suffer? The questions feel like answers, just asking them brings me out of the stupor of alarm.
indigoAnd then… I find my calm by turning within. I separate myself from my alarm and plug into something more powerful than myself. You can call this God, or The Gods, and this is the color that comes forth first as fear gives way to devotion.  Yet this color here is not a true indigo, it is more a violet-blue, a kind of midnight neon light indigo that reminds me of distant car lights or the deepest blue of faraway stars.  That distance takes me away from the helplessness of troubles I can do nothing about because the tragedy happened to other people in another city a long ways away from me, and what can I do immediately about it anyway?  Throw money at it?  Take a road trip there just to hold strangers and cry with them?  So I pray.  I connect with the indigo light and pray.

For_Auroras_Dead

These are the colors of the theater, almost neon, bright, yet fading, as dawn rose out of the screaming night, and sun woke the nation into mourning.

Sweet_Aurora_Roseevery_oneWe_Remember_ThemWe_Hold_Them_CloseForever_Loved

It happened in Theater 9

“And you see a black – see like a – it’s a black dude figure come in, he was in all black with a black mask on. Come in, he throws like a teargas bomb. Everybody thinks it’s like an act or like it’s just part of the movie…”

“And then he brings out like his little rifle and starts shooting. And you see it’s real because you can see the fire and you hear everybody in panic, and I just ducked down and ran out. And as I was running out, like the teargas, it was like stinging my eyes and you just hear everybody in a panic.” — Shale Jackson, a survivor (from NPR’s first report on scene)

Theater_9

He was alone, they said, and called himself The Joker.  He even sported orange-red hair, but no one could see it because all he wore was black.  He was nothing…  not even black.  No thing.  No one.  Nobody.

That’s why I think he did it.

He ran away.  He left a trail of booby traps and threats… but all I see is his cocky, grinning university identification photo on my television screen smugly egging everyone on to attack him. He is thrilled to be not nobody anymore.

He is enjoying infamy.

Don’t give in to it.  He wants to be famous.  He wants to be celebrated as a killer.  He wants to be considered crazy.  He’s not really deranged.  He’s nobody.  NOBODY.  He even had to use a fictional character to hide behind!

And it’s not Batman’s fault!

All_Too_Soon_Dead

Watching the news… I gasped. The parents threw their bodies on their children to save them, children bumped into lifeless adults trying to get them to move… and one 24-year-old woman had, just a week ago, escaped a mall shooting only to fall prey to the bullets shot by the gunman in Theater 9.

Cold_HandsI like to think the deaths were instant. That no one suffered. That the bullet blasts hit hearts and heads dead-on fast, but I know all too well how sloppy amateur gunmen are. How bullets don’t hit clean and often miss and hit at random. I know the stench of the smoke, the sound and spark, burnt blood, powder, the sensation of the spray, the screams, and the cold hands, the sudden panic and the just as sudden and unreal stillness. No one need ever experience this. This belongs to war. This does not belong here. Every time I hear the pops, the fire cracks, even when I just smell gun powder and recognize the unnatural scent of hot blood combined with… don’t let me say it anymore because it is terror to me, to all, and keeps me away from the crowd.

It is the cold hands of friends I held as they faded. Saw their last gasp. Felt festival swing to tragedy… I weep for the dead when I party. No one understands it. You should never have to. Don’t dare study it. Don’t let the news expose you too much to it. Let go of it before it destroys your life and keeps you in the dark.

you_bitchShe’s a kindly one, if you let her be. She’s the color of blood and kisses, roses and dear misses. She reminds me of the deepest pink and red funeral flowers laid to rest over coffins, just like the bodies — the naked shells — of people I loved (that you loved, too), laid down on white satin inside those coffins. This is also the color of dying and dead flesh that lies beyond the cosmetic shell of the corpse. It’s beautiful and disgusting. We don’t want to think about “her” and so we get angry — anger is at the heart of sadness. We are angry our dead are gone.

Traces_of_TearsLike smoke, like silver, like rain, like slug slime, almost rain, spit shine, drawing lines through carefully made-up cheeks and melting mascara… I hate tears. You probably do, too. Even if they are necessary, even if they show up to go along with all the grieving, they have a habit of making the eyes swell up red, the noses run, and the head well up with ache. I can even “smell” tears on people. It is almost like sweat, but everyone’s tears smell different, just like everyone has a different scent. When in a group of mourners, the smell of tears is akin to the combination of sea salt, vinegar, piss, mineral oil, wet moss, with a hint of bleach. Even when I see mourners on television, I can recall the smell, but there is a metallic tinge to it that makes my teeth hurt and I cringe.

One wish I have: to lend my body so they can embrace me to numb their pain.  They can squeeze me to death, if they must.

PsychopompurpleIt’s in the wine we drink to swallow away the thoughts, the feelings, the anxiety. To wash away the ugly and leave behind nothing but the beauty that was who we loved. We need a psychopomp for the living adjusting to the dying. We already have midwives for births and even midwives for the dying… There must needs someone, something to guide us out of the tragedy, guide us away from revenge, guide us into surviving and striving. Perhaps our psychopomp are our own beloved dead. Having died, they influence us to LIVE.

dried_landI didn’t plan to wake up to reports of tragedy, yet today I did. Despite recent rain, I still woke up to dried land. Feeling stronger, I still weep, but not over the dead. I weep for the living who have lost and who survived. I weep for the ones who will know the suffering of trauma. You don’t know for a long while. The body puts you into this state of alert after the trauma happened and then you grow numb. The numb can last for years. Then a trigger is pressed — just like the gun that killed — and the tragedy plays out all over again when you are some place safe and all logic won’t matter and then there are years to go to brave the trauma, to make it a friend, to use it to fight and realize you’re stronger, better somehow, then you’ve ever been. Some survivors get it right away, some never do, some live on inspired and motivated to heroes, others hide and fade. We never know how we will end up until we face trauma. The color of having survived to see the dead you saw die get buried in the graves that could have been yours, is the deepest brown red cavern color that welcomes you into the void. Dark and dry, it goes down into a forever where you don’t know you’ll ever come up from. You can stare into it until you feel you are there, or…

We can get up, dust it all off our knees, and let the tragedy die but never let the beloved dead disappear without honor.

I don’t want to wake up tomorrow morning to watch victims and survivors exploited.  I don’t want the gunman to have his fame.  I want peace to blanket Aurora, Colorado — as I wish it to over all places wounded by violence — because we should be shocked everyday over the many tragedies that happen in our world!  There are TOO many shootings that occur that never get media attention simply because they are not happening to Americans.

And that, my friends, is the tragedy behind our every tragedy.

Stories For You From Beyond My Drawings

I’ve always been inspired by the spot illustrations that are published in the pictorial archive collections published by Dover Publications.  Dover is my favorite publisher of art reference and vector clip art books.  I often sometimes think about what illustrations of my own creation I would donate to a pictorial archive. This month, to draw out motivation to get a project going, I started to draw a few samples, yet then I rebelled against that idea and just settled back into my normal style and routine. I don’t like to just sketch something small for pretty’s sake, I want to tag a story on it!

I just cannot leave well enough alone, can I? Even I complain to myself about my prolific sketching like I do my own writing — especially when my comments on friends’ blogs and Facebook pages lead to me leaving them books to read each day (or just about) — how can I expect anyone to have enough time to respond in kind? Because I really would LOVE IT if someone would write like that back to me, but no one does!  I forget we live in an instant gratification world.  I get on my Twitter just to put some temperance in practice. Keeping my prose to 140 characters really forces me into a better editor.

Maybe I should, instead, draw my words. Leave miles of sketches instead of trails of words to mark my passing? Is there a social network online for that? I’m already a proud and totally OBSESSED member of one for making patterns and color palettes, oh… but wait, yes, there is my DeviantART but I do not count it as a community I’m a part of everyday.

What I intend is to get my priorities straight and give my blog gallery a make-over here. For now, let this post be a preview of the scribbling I’ve been up to as I seek to fumble around with my pencils at the future and come up with some structure to present my creations upon.

Any and all comments, replies, even critiques are highly desired and downright required here!  Please!  Don’t make me beg.  My ego needs some massaging.  I live like a hermit.  I miss having a group to collaborate with.  I could scream right now with delight if something I drew DREW your attention and inspired you to write a line or two or a thousand.

An Assortment of Character Sketches & Studies of Pop Culture Icons Real, Somewhat Unreal, plus Some Yet to be Discovered for Your Enjoyment & Amusement

She was intoxicated by the perfume in the air, or was it the over saturation of perfume she sprayed into her hair that made her want to faint away on a cloud of petals and be carried away by the wind…?

Teasingly, in snaking spirals, her hair tried its escape.  It first moved as a tickle up her throat, then a caress up her cheek, widened into cinnamon roll curls that flattened as she flung her head back into the air — the air so thick it could have been a pillow that humid day when every piece of fruit, every pore of skin sweat beads like tears… the only rain to fall.

But it wasn’t the perfume, not the heat, it was death sliding his gentle hand into her limp fingers, and she twitched and smiled without laughter, her eyes turning to Heaven as he spun her about.  She flew away with him before the body fell and all decayed.  She never had time to see herself rot or bury in a box or be the subject of so much fuss and mourning.  He made sure all she would ever know now was the flying and smiling, living as if never born without ever knowing the dying.

Her hair had to be covered, for like another living being it was, with a whole body and spirit and growing mind it had, one that had to be held down with blankets of scarves.  It hated the light, threatened to tear off her head when she dared walk in the sun.  But for the creäture to make that kind of escape, it would surely die.  Once off the scalp, it was like anyone else’s hair, but dry like hay and wheat.  There was a time when she did cut it, but her roots rebelled, quivering like little demons, stabbing at her as they pulled themselves up and down.  So she let it grow again, the roots stretched and the locks braided together, forming the creäture, with each strand of hair like a blood vein pumping nutrients to keep it alive.  Yet it did not grow heavy, and even rewarded her for keeping it safe from the sun.  The hair promised to gift her the love of her life… but how?

The hair had a habit of scaring away any man or woman, even children, who dared come close enough to her to become a companion.  It seemed the only way she’d ever find rescue from her hair was to have her own head cut off, and this was the conclusion she was coming to the night the hair almost strangled her while she slept.  The hair wanted to see the world, you see, but it was trapped in the girl’s turban and could only be let loose in the dark.  She had the voice and body, the hair had nothing but gumption, and she did not want to be anywhere but home.  They struggled for years until one night a tribe of gypsies came to town, and it seemed perhaps an opportunity could be had with them, one where both girl and her hair could make their wishes come true.

She was no pioneer woman, she was a city gal seeking adventure and independence, but more like escape from the troubles of home and a whole list of disappointments, she’d rather not say all about for fear it would give all her luck away in the tellin’.

She dressed up fairly nicely and could pass for a society woman, but underneath the satin bow and lace trim, she packed her own set of pistols and wore a pair of bloomers under her crinoline.  Fashion was only necessary to impress the rich and attract a man fool enough to make a girl into a bride, but on her side of the road it was all “no man necessary” and just give her a horse and some place to sleep.  Even if its nothin’ but a shack, she’d make it a palace by the end of the week.  That’s pretty much what she did for the lucky town that first failed to receive her kindly.  First look at her and the folk all took her to be soft, but her sand was hard and as smooth as gold.  None of them knew that gentle smile would carry so much gun power.

“Hey there Lonely Girl…  Lonely Girl!”  It seemed like Eddie was singing just to her every night.  “Let me make your broken heart like new… Oh, my lonely girl, lonely girl… Don’t you know this lonely boy loves you…?”  She was just as pretty as the other girls, got just as many tips, worked as hard, didn’t get paid as much, but she was the youngest, the one who never had a boyfriend and who didn’t care not to, not ever.  “

“Ever since he broke your heart you seem so lost… Each time you pass my way/How I long to take your hand… And say don’t cry, I’ll kiss your tears away…! Hey there lonely girl,” If she had a heart she’d swoon like she used to. Instead she chomped on her sugarless gum and took each next order with the lackluster interest she’d give checking off a grocery list. “Oh my lonely girl, lonely girl…” She ought a give that jukebox a good kick in the can!  And where it counts, too.

That was where he turned her on.  Once.  Made her forget she was a waitress and living in this hell hole town.  Even when a cockroach skidded across the floor tile, it was as if it did so all romantic-like just for them, as that bastard reached for her neck and whispered…

“WHERE’S MY GREEN PEA AND HAM?!!”  It was Miss Sally again, the crazy old hen.  Comes here every hour before close for the same thing, even when it’s not the soup du jour and the cook still has it ready for her, but tonight he’s got off and everyone forgot.  There was no getting around this one.  Miss Sally was about to take aim at her.  “You!”  She spat into her uniform, “you made him leave!  Go get him!”  For some reason Miss Sally had this idea She and Jake were going steady.  “Now, Miss Sally, you know that ain’t true, so’s just sit yourself down and let me see what I can get you…”

“…don’t you know this lonely boy loves you… You think that only his two lips can kiss your lips, And make your heart stand still. But once you’re in my arms you’ll see… No one can kiss your lips the way I will…”  She almost forgot Miss Sally was waiting while she searched the back room for that can of that gruesome green sloppy soup that woman couldn’t get enough of.  At least she ordered it to go and she didn’t have to cook it, gave it to Matthew to stew and stepped out into the music again to take another order, only to see her past coming back to haunt her…  “Hey there lonely girl, lonely girl…  Let me make your broken heart like new!”

Bastard.  There he was.  In from the rain.  Dripping black leather, sharp smile, that long black hair making his pale face shine like a moon at midnight… the beloved monster that made her give up all men in the first place.  She would’ve jumped up and embraced him like a demented harpy eager to get her orgy on, but instead she did the human thing and ignored him.  Let him work for love for a change.

Bastard.

Two Broke Girls?  How about one Baroque Girl?!


She’s not the last of her kind, she lives on a neighboring world, really, something like Earth and really, really not too far from ours. In fact, we might meet her someday, that is, if we can get over our fear of bugs. This High Society Queen is all the rage among her large clan of people who worship Cicada-headed humanoid Gods as supreme. The number seven is their holy number. Every cicada is honored. The seasons of the cicada are celebrations. The births and burials of cicada are sacred. Everywhere you go, everything is designed and influenced by the way cicadas look. The crown this queen wears is a fully functional one — both a ceremonial crown and a helmet with goggles and gear allowing her to breath underwater, underground, and withstand temperature extremes.

The Cicada people are human beings, often going as far as modifying their faces and body parts to appear more cicada-like, and they have genetically modified the creatures to breed and grow into extremely large cicadas to become household pets.  I do not know much more about them.  I will have to draw more of them to understand them.  One other thing I do know: they love to hum loudly.

This is the mystery story of Ophelia Wilde and Rosella Snowman who chose to make Magic instead of a Home.

Ophelia was once a man named Oscar Wilde, a man who never really died because his readers never let him, so his name escaped in his words and the seed of his soul grew back into the mind of his mother.  When Lady Wilde died, the soul of a woman — the woman he was meant to be — grew out of the grave and called itself Ophelia.  Delighted that she was in existence, she set forth to create another soul like herself but did not know the process of how she was made.  So she chased down a poor fellow with a starving wife and a crippled daughter.

“My life was constructed out of letters and ideas.  The body of the man I was is no more, but it was in the body of the man I was that lay my fortune.  The only means to fortune’s bounty for me now is to become now what I could not be as a man.  I shall have to be twice the storyteller I was when I wore trousers.  You, sir, I mean to better and make my man.  Your wife and child, once well, I will employ as servants…”

Too poor for hat or cap, he rubbed his bald and dirty scalp, his eyes locked crooked, and simply he did reply, “I… I cannot stay dear lady, for the half-moon calls me crazy and I am bound to be carried away.  Can you not see my bones, mum?  For surely I must die if I stay here to watch me wife go.”  He stumbled out his own door and slowly walked down his front steps as if he were newly blind and stepping out for the first time.  A white carriage waited him down the street, and lost he was into the night, never seen again.

Rosella did not consider her husband a real husband.  Her daughter was never hers to begin with either.  She had lived a life of pleasure until taken ill and put her career behind her.  Grown bitter and bored, she spent days and nights painting her face and curling her hair, letting the little daughter play with her cosmetics and hand mirrors.  But then the illness took the girl and all magic threatened to die at long last.

“No, no, no,” Ophelia moaned, “it is only sadness — this despair is your only illness — come away with me and I will show you.  The way to life is to make magic.  The way to live is to give up home and be magic.”

And so they drifted.  The little girl was given to a good home in the reality of the 1980’s, but they, Ophelia and Rosella, they live everywhere in every time.  If you hear a giggle on the wind, that’s Ophelia in transit.  If you see the reflection of a dour young woman in the glass of anywhere you are, that’s Rosella still bored and wishing to get away with more.

Gloria Swanson I sometimes call Gloria Swansong because of the way my way of speech tends to slur out my words.  Or perhaps it is because while I speak someone’s name, or the name of anything, I am already giving it a metaphor in my mind and it comes out automatically.

This leads me to believe I could talk easier in poetry.  The very idea of that — speaking poetry instead of straight English, just a strict language of poetry — excites me and makes my heart flip.

It would drive everyone else nuts, but not me.

Just a sight from home I want to see before the summer dies on me.

=============================

I hope you’ve enjoyed the little stories I wrote with my drawings.  They were all created spontaneously here tonight.  I can write things off the top of my head.  Unedited.  I’m never bored with the characters I come up with.  Wish you were here for me to tell a bedtime story to…!

Postcard #37: Hippy Kamikaze?

I started the second and third week of July doing some volunteer work I enjoy. The days I had to step out into the heat, I decided to wear one of my Guatemalan headbands. One of my favorites is a hand-stitched cotton band that folds out into a bonnet, perfect for days when I need something to keep sweat out of my eyes. The funniest thing that happened while I wore that headband that day…

I know a cute Korean couple who own a frame and print business downtown, and as I walked by their place, they just couldn’t get over how my new red hair color matched the flowers on my headband!

“It’s like you are a hippy Kamikaze!” The husband laughed and could NOT stop laughing. His wife’s smile was infectious, too. The two of them made me giggle really hard. Hippy Kamikaze! Indeed. I’ll be remembering that one for a long while.

I wish I had more to write today.  I procrastinated my writing a lot this week.  Normally I like to write my “postcards from home” every Sunday to mark each end and beginning of every week, but…  my urge to draw has overcome desires to write.  NOT that I don’t have anything to write about.  My mind is always full.

Even though I am lonely due to being frustrated because I can’t seem to hook up with friends, I have to practice some temperance.  I have no one to talk to lately and it makes me panic.  I don’t know whether to stay silent and disappear, or keep waiting for responses to my replies, comments, and endless trails of words, yet now I have to stop and get back to writing for myself.  Still… I start to feel guilty for expressing myself at all to my friends, especially when I forget to consider that other people I don’t know read what I write to them and freak out over the nice things (I kid you not) I have to say.  I only wish I could be the kind of friend I am to myself as I am for others, so I do what I do, and all I can do is write, and just wait.  In the meantime, I’m concentrating on my drawing.  I have a great purpose to fulfill — working on a playing card deck I hope I’ll finish at the end of the month — it’ll afford me the key to making my dreams come true.

I have to keep believing.  Keeping going.  I’m almost there!  August will be a time of greatness for me.

Because I’m going to make it be so.

Is Hero Worship Keeping Me from Greatness?

It’s too easy and tempting to hero-worship.
It’s harder and harrowing (hero-ing?) to make a hero out of myself.

Is it impossible to achieve greatness when all you see is how great someone else’s greatness is? That is the problem I fall into. Hero worship can prevent me from achieving and knowing my own greatness. How can one break out of the cycle of falling in love with the Hero and giving him all the glory, when really one should set out on a quest of one’s own and achieve glory for herself?

This weighs heavily on my heart and casts a shadow over my dreams because I so badly love being in love with heroes.   Ever since I was a girl I fell in love with the great legendary heroes I read about in books. Before I ever became a teenage groupie of rock musicians and comic book artists and horror novel authors, I aspired to become the kind of heroine (or damsel in distress, even though that role left me with a bad taste in my soul) who would marry the subject of one of the greatest epic poems, or I maybe I would grow up and be a muse for a great bard like Taliesin. At the age of 11, I read Beowulf, devoured King Arthur and his Knights written and illustrated by the great Howard Pyle, loved the epic poem The Faerie Queene by Sir Edumnd Spenser, and even made my English teachers’ jaws drop when I wrote a summer reading’s book report on the Odyssey and the Iliad!  But then… I discovered Joan of Arc and Red Sonja and fell in love with swords.  If I couldn’t be the beloved of heroes, I’d be a spitfire warrior woman, dammit! (But my desire for romance never, um, quite diminished, of course)

I even tried my hand at writing my own epic poems, one I called Zora the Sea Maiden but it was a silly daydream, full of forced rhymes and little more than a schoolgirl’s pedestrian effort to mimic her heroes’ greatness.  This was cruelly pointed out to me by the time I was in high school.  Even though I had learning disability complications that held me one year behind in reading comprehension, my writing and composition skills were superior, yet still I was no Homer or Dante, nor would I ever be as it was so pointed out by several of my high school English teachers.  I attempted to write plays and songs, sang one of my own for an audition, and even though my peers thought me someone akin to Shakespeare, time and time again I was let down and rejected, my ego trimmed down to the thickness of a thumbnail. That criticism was necessary, not to hold any narcissism in check, nor to break my girlhood dreams, but to give me a dose of reality and force me to realize where my best talents lay.

I loved heroes, I loved writing, yet I could draw like nobody’s business.  My drawings and paintings told stories.  I made a small business for myself quite by happenstance and airbrushed other kids’ names and things on their jackets and jeans.  I even did a little street art, but couldn’t stand the stench of spray paint, and the adventure of nearly getting caught was a bit too much for me, however having that experience… it made me feel GREAT.  But it wasn’t something epic, nothing that would make me a hero, or make me a heroic companion, or even transform this girl into the sort of lady that inspires bards.  Because, even though I sometimes used my art talents to impress boys, they were more interested in girls who were, I dunno… more demure, shy to the point of weak, or younger, less “equal (?)” to them than me.  By the time I was 18, I thought that being great meant being too strong meant being no one’s girlfriend and so, discouraged after a boyfriend left me for a petite, skinny, illiterate girl he got pregnant, I wondered if getting stupid myself would make me less alone.

Because by the time I was of the age when drinking was the rage and freedom meant experimenting with every sin, I went through some distress.  It was the only time in my life when I attracted a man willing to marry me, but only if I let him be the dominant partner in the relationship.  I played along with it for as long as I could, yet…  it never felt right.  Oh, I eventually exhibited my intelligence, budded and blossomed into the Feminist I was born to be, and began to realize the greatness of what being a woman is, and even though I could be just as great with a man as I could be single, I had yet to really know myself for myself, undefined by anyone else and no longer hidden underneath the shadow of my girlhood heroes.

I squirmed away from the possibility of marriage and the conventions of what could have been a secure, yet un-greatness-fulfilling life. My fiancé wanted three children, a house, requested that it would be nice if I be a housewife, spend my days at home and just made art in my spare time.  However, my talents did not lie in cooking, I am no Suzy House-maker, and when I am working on my art at home, it dominates every second of my time!  I cannot be bothered by dirty diapers and screaming children, let alone a husband coming home demanding anything while I’m putting my visions to paper.  Or maybe I could have…  ?  When I asked the ‘maybe’ and friends around me answered with  ‘you should‘ that was it.  I realized my greatness was not Valentina the Mom & Wife, it would be Valentina the Artist, however even that did not seem sufficient.

How does a young woman who grew up worshiping heroes discover her own greatness, anyway?

There is no manual or set of instructions for it except the double standards out there deeply conditioned within our society that tell us otherwise how to behave.  We play into them even when we think we’re being strong and independent.  Especially when we tell ourselves we are kicking ass and getting things done our way without anyone’s help.  I still get weak in the knees whenever I see how great someone else is achieving their greatness.  I ache to celebrate their achievements.  I rush up to the front row and scream out their name.  Tears run down my face when I look upon their face and I want so badly to see a God there looking back at me…

When I worship a hero, I am inviting the Gods to come out of an ordinary person.  I think that because an ordinary, mortal person has achieved greatness this must make them worthy to channel God, or that they have a God living within them all along, and so therefore worshiping them is akin to worshiping the Gods within.  The Gods make the Hero possible.  The Hero could not achieve greatness without the Gods.  If I can touch the Hero, I can reach the Gods through Him.  The Hero becomes a demigod just by right of achieving Greatness.  Yet does this, in turn, hurt any ordinary person’s chances for Greatness?  Not everyone becomes the Hero, so therefore the largest percentage of Us ordinary folk are incapable of reaching greatness and communing with the Gods.  Hero worship then becomes a poison, the quest for greatness just another selfish excuse for seeking the wrong kind of fame, making yet another individual no less closer to communing with the Gods than I am talking to the stars in the heavens.  When I cease to pay homage to the Hero and invite the Gods to come to me without achieving some great or special deed worthy of hero’s fame and glory, do I then make greater my chances for greatness in my own way on my own path according to what only I can achieve ?

Again, I feel heavy.  Not in sadness or anger, but in guilt for having worshiped my hero.  I no longer look up to fictional or historical heroes.  No celebrities push my thrill buttons anymore either.  What inspires and fascinates me now are the stellar mortals I am blessed to know in this life, people who make me want to achieve greatness so I can be their equal, catch up to them, and share some awesome adventures together.  Gone are the girlhood fantasies of wanting to become married to a hero or become the muse for a hero bard, and gone, too, is my desire to become great in order to become famous or rich.  I just want to be as great as my friends!  Their opinions matter to me like no one else’s, if they think when I express my admiration of them is wrong, I feel like a total idiot, or like I’ve been demoted to a self-depreciating groupie.  Or that they just do not see me as one of them.

Admiring my friends makes me very happy, sometimes it keeps me going, inspiring me to go to great lengths to achieve my own greatness.  I have a friend right now who is achieving a Great Adventure — *laughs*  it’s all his fault that I push myself a little harder because while I sweat in the sun, I think about how he is feeling biking and walking for many miles in this summer heat, and I think how much I have it easy in my climate-controlled drawing-room, how spoiled I am only having to worry about paying for laundry this week — !  I think of him when I go to bed, wondering if he’s sleeping outside in his hammock or if he’s found shelter tonight while I cuddle up with my cat, all safe and sound in my cozy apartment far away.

I was once homeless and know VERY MUCH what it is like to live like that.  I feel guilty staying in my own home while he’s out there.  Even though he has chosen his adventure, any adventures I’ve been through were not of my chosing.  I never had a large group of people cheering me on when I was struggling to make ends meet, surfing couches, and sleeping outside without a tent and sharing a cement bed underneath bridges with gutter punks.  That was my life at age 30.  My friend at age 30 has it better, has it all together, has the advantages of a supportive parental unit, and a network of friends to rely upon.  In some ways I am jealous, but what out-trumps that is I’m so damn proud of him!  He’s out-doing the challenges and struggles I went through at his age.

What our mutual friends do not know is that he helped me during some of the most difficult times when my life was most unstable.  When no one else stood up for me, he was there, and even though he could not fix my problems, he did what best friends do: HE STOOD BY.  That’s the best you can do — the GREATEST thing you can do for someone — just stand by them while they make it through their troubles.  It may seem like you’re doing nothing for your friend, but just standing by is everything, is all there is to do, and doing it is what matters the most because when I went through my hardest times I lost the friends I thought mattered.

When I compare my life to his right now, well, I just CAN’T see my life being anything great compared to his.  Perhaps this is due to my perception of his Great Adventure right now.  He’s the one doing all the greatness simply because he’s taking risks and being bold and pushing fast forward towards his goals!  The relief of just simply being happy because he’s happy for doing that frees me from feeling stupid and lazy for not doing something as grand and crazy as his Great Adventure.

I think of him as my ordinary hero.  I’m not really worshiping him like a God, I’m just talking and bragging about him because he’s my friend doing something  great that I cannot do.  Yes, I can ride a bike (he taught me how!) but I would kill myself doing what he is doing.  We once took a seven week trip and attempted to bike a teeny-weeny 13 miles and that put me in so much back/groin pain, well, need I go into gory details about that?  He has the stamina, endurance, skills and talents I simply do not have.  And, in contrast, I have strengths he lacks.  I know he admires me for those, so why not indulge in a little mutual appreciation?  I think we should all do that with our friends!  I do not think we do that enough with each other.  I think that when we do, sometimes people are under the impression we do it because we have some ulterior motive.  It’s hard to reassure each other that our worship of each other is genuine and the expression of it is not “I’m putting you above me” kind of thing.  It should be this patting each other on the back ritual, right?

Hero worship itself can become a trap for some of us.  I struggle with not letting it get too big of a habit.  It can carry me away back into acting like a 14-year-old girl again, but instead of copying her heroes or wanting to marry them, at some point reality seeps back in, I think of my love for my friend — the one who is not a hero but working toward living the Heroic Life — and I remember I am walking my own path to greatness.  My path is not the same as any of my friends, but like everyone else’s, we each have our own to define and chose as our own, and mine is simply a Witch’s Path; one of independence, creating beauty, caring for other people, activating change, standing up for justice, living in devotion to my Gods, and living by my own set of virtues.

But hero-worship can also be a welcome escape from trouble, often a way to rescue ourselves out of boredom and out of thinking that all there is to life is drudgery.  Hero worship should be the very thing that works as an elixir against conformity, yet with right ingredients mixed with the wrong elements, it is used to create tyranny that manifests in the form of cults, dictatorships, fanaticism, fascism, stalkers…  *shivers* Those things scare me.  Hero worship can turn into the poison that is so dreadfully yet beautifully addictive, it stunts the soul by the thousands.  I believe that anyone who finds that they have become a hero may or may not realize that their power is given to them by other people who are willingly giving up their freedom to belong to them.  When fanatics force that kind of obligation upon the hero they look up to, it becomes sick.  We might as well be asking our heroes to become assholes just to prove to us that we have placed our love and faith into the wrong living being.

My policy now is to NOT follow my pop culture heroes.  I refuse to meet them at conventions.  I don’t ask for autographs.  I am not thrilled by the idea of getting the chance to spend any amount of time with actors, authors, or celebrities.  Most of whom I have met by accident and enjoyed short, sweet, ordinary exchanges of word with that left me feeling comfortable knowing that we did not bother to bother each other with the usual fanfare that goes along with fan-meeting-star.  Why do I not go out of my way to meet my heroes at comic-book conventions?  Because every time I have met them, they turn out to show me their asshole side.  Everyone who sits through hours of signing their name millions of times for billions of lines of hungry, determined, crazy, starry-crossed-eyed, adoring fans ends up cranky and exhausted while all of it is going on.  There is only so much of that crazy one can take.  A friend of mine who “made it” in the business described it to me as “spending the entire day with your heart in your throat” so by the time you get to your hotel room, all you want to do is be quiet and do nothing.  When a fan goes out of their way to catch you unaware and manages to charm you into going to dinner with them or whatever, their perky attitude, no matter how sincere, becomes exasperating and, um, I often have been that fan.

I will not name the big names here, but one well-known author completely disillusioned me to the point of making me want to slit my wrists for worshiping him in the first place.  My best excuse for it was I was young and naïve and that put me on his most annoying let’s-fuck-with-this-silly-ignorant-girl list.  I don’t think I deserved it, however, his cruelty it taught me a lesson. Our heroes are not always what we make them to be. We must be careful in our selection of heroes. Chose the wrong person to believe in, it can devastate us to discover they are an asshole.  Our Hero-turned-Asshole we then make into our Nemesis because he becomes the antithesis of what we worship as Great. Yet even our nemesis is our teacher and worth our thanks because they can make us strive towards greatness that they will never achieve.  When my author hero humiliated me in front of his other fans, it put me on a war path to prove him wrong about me.  But that was not why I was an artist, so I exited the comic art industry and chose instead to just be the best artist only I am known to be.

What is keeping me from greatness now?  I fear greatness because I do not want to become the kind of hero who tears down and belittles the people who admire her.  I’ve learned that some heroes abandon their friends once they achieve greatness.  They conveniently forget names, cut down and ditch people out of their lives like one does no-longer-needed items donated at Goodwill or rummage sales, and once you’re out of the entourage, there are no more reunions, just drive-by hellos and byes.  Yet this is not an attack against heroes, just an expression of the fear of the way that fame that goes along with being a hero can change a friend into stranger.

I fear greatness will tear me away from people I love.  I will do  everything, no, ANYTHING in order to not break the hearts of the people I love because I know how that feels.  In many legends, heroes sacrifice their lives to save people, often leaving behind their lovers, wives, families…  but oftentimes today I don’t think it always necessary, depending upon what kind of greatness one is achieving.  I think when a person chooses to become the kind of hero that goes off to risk their life, and before they risk it all they chose to have a family, they are causing pain.  It’s well and good to sacrifice one’s life to save people you love, but… can’t there be a better way?  I like to hope so!

I sometimes fear the way my hero worship wells up a passion in me because it allows me too much of an escape from reality and when I wake up from the daydream world of the epic Hero, it makes me think ordinary men are not to be trusted, nor are worthy of love and greatness.  When I read the epics, the legends, I often shook my head and got angry with my heroes.  I did not always understand the need for sacrifice.  I also sometimes resented the glory that was bestowed upon them for their deeds when it was the women and children, the families left behind who often were the ones who suffered the most after their loss.  I especially wept for the ladies who were never to be reunited with their lovers, the ones who wasted away, took their own lives…  what good comes from that?  And, oh, how I fancied to do that myself at times.  How pathetic!  Such tales made me want to, not because some silly boy broke my heart, but because THERE ARE NO HEROES IN THIS WORLD LIKE IN THE LEGENDS OF OLD TO WORSHIP and therefore no men living are worthwhile for me to date *slides into a fainting chair*  Oh, woe, for me!  

The kind of fictional heroes I’ve often fell in love with were rogues that women loved because, well, they’re the best!  Who doesn’t want to make love to the best, even if the best can’t stick around, because, hey, maybe they’re woman enough to match the best?  Those heroes were, let’s face it, womanizers, not really worthy heroes, no matter how great their deeds, because their ideas about women were based on nothing truly real — there were no heroines in those heroes’ world, only whores, damsels in need of rescue (then they were de-flowered by the hero, of course), and temptresses (basically whores who were spies and killed for money, yet despite eventually falling for the hero and displaying their true heart of gold, get killed anyway — hurrah! ugh).  Like the song goes “rulers make bad lovers” however heroes make great lovers but make bad husbands and always end up being the death of their wives because heroes always need a dead beloved to avenge in order for there to be a great story.  I’ve read the legends both make-believe and historical (yet sometimes it is hard to tell which one is real).  I watch the news.  I read the papers.  It’s all true (or so we’re led to believe).  And even the heroines — the “SHEro” — isn’t always the greatest wife or lover because she’s so busy, she doesn’t have the time to spare for love, or she’s basically a male hero in a woman’s body.  What’s that all about?  Now I’m starting to get the comic book fiction mixed up with real life.  Sorry.  Typical mistake of my imagination.

Better to just be myself.  Be an artist.  Stick to one’s craft.  Don’t let anyone make me a hero.  Stay being this Witch.  Make magic out of nothing.  Let those people who can hack it, do something drastic.  I’m content to wait til all the excitement is over.  I’ve had my share of it and I like to watch it.  I’ll be here to write the stories and poems.  I’m now the poet who is most happy to compose the praise.  That’s where my passion lies.  If some friends match this passion, they’re welcome to come join my party, yet I do so want to knock on their door and be a part of their cool adventurer’s club!  It is like I am the odd girl out again wishing to hang out with the awesome kids.

To answer the question that is the title of this essay:

No.  Hero worship comes and goes with me.  My perception of Greatness changes as my heroes change.  Even when they cease to be heroes , long after the glitter in their crowns of laurel fades, and they return as men, as other women, as friends, as the people only I know and love, I will still think them great long after others think them not.  That’s my way.  Perhaps that’s the key to my Greatness, the kind I like to give to them… and there is no wrong in that.  Leave me with that kind of Greatness, the one I’m most comforted by, the most loved, the one you can see in my eyes as I shut them to say good-night and dream of you.