Friday, March 30, 2018
3/30/18 RMB What if
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Teddy told me a few years ago to replace the word “should” with “could” in my self-talk. The sentence “I could clean house today.” sounds so much gentler and inviting than “I should clean house today”. It rather turns the meaning to an option, an inviting opportunity.
This month, along those lines, I’ve tossed in “What if”. Sometimes that’s the entire sentence. At others, it proceeds “(What if) I really wanted this house clean, what would I do right now?” That one is in keeping with the same theme, but it works for any kind of plan, to better health, improve work habits, direct and steer my life, you get the picture.
It seemed a concept worth sharing, so there you have it.
By the way, I recently ran across an interview of you by David Letterman dated May 18, 1983, on a show also featuring Johnny Winter. I recommend searching it out for any RMB fans, or Johnny Winter fans for that matter. We are fortunate to live in a time where the images and recordings made in our lifetime are so easily replayed and enjoyed.
In my endeavor to read all of your books in order, I recently finished Whisker of Evil, a collaboration with Sneaky Pie Brown. The last line was one of my favorites, and it wouldn’t be giving away any of the plot to share it. In a conversation about life after death the last line reads:
“I believe in life before death.” Mrs. Murphy smiled.
How very Mrs. Murphy that line is. What if we all reveled and cherished life as much? What if.
Have a Wonderful Easter Weekend,
Friday, February 9, 2018
2/9/18 RMB Silent January
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Given thirty-one days, I can normally come up with something to say. But January was not a normal month.
On the morning of January 8th, my brother Rocky crossed over to the next phase of our existence. He would have been 62 today, February 9th.
There are days that I still find myself doing something routine, normal in every respect, and feeling that there has been a shift. Normal is not normal anymore because my world no longer includes my Rocky.
Although I talk to him and believe he hears and even responds, it is not the same. He does feel lighter though, no longer struggling for each breath from COPD.
On the morning I flew home to California after his services, a light snow fell. I’ve never been in an Alabama snowfall. Having spent summers there since childhood, this was a first. From my father’s kitchen window, we watched three deer eat the corn and grain he put out for them. Snow landed gently on their brown coats of fir and shiny noses. They visit often, but not normally in the late morning light, with four adults making noise in the kitchen and watching them.
I was thankful for their visit. There is more to say about that trip, but for now, this is enough, just a little hello to you, a Happy Birthday shout out to my big brother, and a new RMB letter. He encouraged my writing. He read the letters I posted to you. He was a one of the good guys, one of those people that always did his best, helped others, did good work, a good listener and a good story teller. When a heated discussion arose about various “kinds” of people, he ended it with the statement “People are people”, asserting that there are good people and bad people in every “kind” of people. He will be missed.
Sunday, December 31, 2017
12/31/17 RMB Happy New Year!
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Another year has zoomed by.
In this year some of us faced more challenges than others, all of us had something, at some point or another to laugh about, or be thankful for, or embrace.
My brother faced health challenges and overcame them to be with us at our family reunion. I was thankful that, once again, he could sit across the table from us, tease us, laugh with us, and give us comfort in his very special way. He is a great brother, always has been. And beyond that, he is a great man.
So we embark on a new year. I look forward to reading more of your books, although at the rate you write them, I don’t know if I will ever catch up to your current publication. I am in the middle of Whisker of Evil.
I look forward to accomplishing more and being more of who I want to be in the new year. Although I am happy with who I am, I think it human nature to always want to move forward. I pray that those who guide our country, and the many other counties that comprise our world, see the the wisdom in allowing us to move forward together, as one humankind.
In The Four Agreements, a book of Toltec wisdom, author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the following keys.
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don't take anything personally.
3. Don't make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
Sounds like a good plan for the new year to me :)
Happy New Year!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
11/28/17 RMB Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday Rita Mae Brown,
It is a cool, crisp morning here in California and I’d bet it is even cooler in Virginia. I hope this day brings you all of what pleases you most, moments of laughter and of peace, birthday greetings from those that matter most to you, and some really good cake!
This day reminds me of the trip your father and aunt took to bring you home as you described it in Rita Will. What an adventurous way to begin your journey.
Cheers to you on your special day,
Monday, November 20, 2017
11/20/17 RMB Happy Thanksgiving Week
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Happy Thanksgiving week!
A text from my nephew appeared on my phone the other day. It displayed only an image of the lineup for the Kentucky Book Fair. It was a poster that he spotted with photos of the authors, including one Rita Mae Brown. A rare pang of jealousy reared its dragon like head and poof’d smoke over me making me wish that, like my nephew, for this one weekend, I lived in Kentucky.
Here in California, I just finished reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllben.
Last week my sister/roommate and I spent a weekend at our other sister’s home (the nephew’s mom) in Orange County. We celebrated an early Thanksgiving dinner and sister time.
This week I will travel to the high desert in 29 Palms to visit and celebrate the holiday with Teddy and the friends who are her desert family.
So here is what I am thankful for this week, this year, always…Authors, like yourself, who bring nature a little closer to us. The animals in your stories, the trees Peter studied, these are wonderful ruminations for the mind to explore.
I’m thankful for family, not family by blood, but by choice, because family that share DNA, must still choose to be the kind of family I’m thankful for, the kind that supports each other and drives or flies hours just to share a dinner and moments together. If some happen to share microscopic markings, great, but the strongest of bonds are made by the heart, mind and soul.
There is a strength in circles, the ones we place around us hold us up. My nephew, who owns an important part of my heart, sent that photo, because he knows me. And because he knows me, he knows of you. And that made me as happy as anything else. I like my circle and I’m glad you are in it.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
10/30/17 RMB Happy Halloween
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I blinked and October disappeared.
This evening Maria will drag her fire pit out to the center of the front yard, fill it with wood and light a fire that will brighten the path towards the candy bowl for trick or treaters, toddlers to teens.
The streets will be filled with cheer, princesses, ghosts, goblins and pumpkins. There are normally a few Supermen, Spidermen and, this year, probably more zombies that normal, an influence of our cable TV viewing. And there will be a few extra Wonder Women, loved that movie.
The two eldest of the nephew trio are in more trouble than normal, but have sweetened up their adults, myself included, to be able to partake of the festivities.
Recently I read the book Hamilton by Ron Chernow and it sparked an interest in the history of our presidents. A couple more quick reads from the YA (young adult) section of our library have filled in the blanks, forgotten history lessons from days long ago. And this venture reminded me of the trials and tribulations of our nation, the offenses, the wars, as well as the driving desire to make life better for ourselves and others that flows in waves.
First we fight, we conquer, and then we rebuild. We struggle, argue, challenge, demand…and then negotiate. On national and international levels, we eventually come to find that “we” are not better than “they”, whoever “we” and “they” may be, only different.
When we respect differences and negotiate first, will we begin to evolve into a peaceful world. Instead of rebuilding what has been destroyed, the land, families, hearts, we can build bridges spanning generations, accepting that if we are too different to live together, we can live nearby and still share our knowledge and resources.
Imagine if we had learned from the Native American, if we had lived in harmony, if we had invited the African Americans to join us, rather than capturing them, if the colonies had proven the benefits of being a free nation and negotiated our independence instead of fighting for it.
Every wish, dream, and goal, begins in the imagination. As we watch costumes parade by tonight, we are reminded that we can be anything we want to be, and peace feels within reach.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
9/27/17 RMB Fall’s Cool Evening Breeze
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
The cool evening breeze of fall is welcome relief from the hot summer days. There is much to write to you about, too much, to the point that I don’t know where to begin. Life has seemed in a state of chaos for months, with storms in the southeast and storms in politics.
It is a good time to count blessings, to send out wishes for the best for everyone, that they find strength and compassion where and when it is most needed.
The Sun has promised to shine today and to return tomorrow, it is good to have a friend that one can count on. This friend will help those in need, in ways they may not even notice, nourishing the land and all beings alike with light and energy, drying flooded areas and just being there, as the best of friends tend to do.
You have been busy writing, or perhaps your publisher is just catching up to all of your writing, and that is another blessing. I noticed four books debuting this year, A Hiss Before Dying, Tall Tail, Cakewalk, and Crazy Like a Fox. And already announced for 2018 is Probable Claws. At my snail’s pace, I continue reading through your works chronologically. Currently, it is “Sister” Jane that offers me a welcome escape from my world into hers, as I make my way through Full Cry.
When things get crazy out there, my friend Teddy reminds me of the wise words, “There is peace in MY world”. That means more than I can define, but in part, it means creating our own universe, because our contribution counts. The best we can do is the best we can do. So, in my world, there is caring, hope, kindness, understanding, joy, appreciation, of course Rita Mae Brown, and many, many others that I am thankful for.
Peace be with you,