Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Saturday, September 28, 2013

7-9-13 RMB Humankind

7-9-13 RMB Humankind
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
In Bingo, the follow up book to Six of One, that you wrote in 1988, I enjoyed Nickie’s talk with Jackson, where she expounds on how it is to society’s benefit for everyone to be open and honest about who they are and what they want. It saves time and heartache; adds to societal efficiency and therefore the responsibility rests on society to make people comfortable being themselves.
Yes, it would benefit everyone for society to encourage us to be so transparent. Personally, I think if people were honest with themselves we would understand that all people are bisexual and simply fall in varying degrees on the scale, from one end: same gender attraction, to the other: opposite gender attraction. Your explanation of the Blue Dot Theory, and other writings, indicate you have considered something along these lines.
I find this extremely odd: we live in a society that acknowledges masturbation and, indeed loving oneself in a variety of ways, as a part of being human that adds to a pleasurable lifetime experience, a healthy psyche. “Look in the mirror and appreciate yourself. Acknowledge your own beauty” etc, etc. etc.
It seems blatantly contradictory to tell a person that their own body is beautiful, sensual, and something to be enjoyed on several levels, including physically…however, it is disgusting, disgraceful and wrong to find another person of the same gender attractive and sensual. They have the same equipment!
That is like saying that on Tuesdays chocolate is wonderful and to be consumed en mass for personal and societal benefit, but on Wednesday, it is outlawed. HELLO, it is the same CHOCOLATE!
Society is full of contradictions. A similar example is how each religion claims to have the one all powerful God. How is it said God overlooks the many that don’t live in a region where that religion is available for worshippers?
My respect for religion lay in the basic teachings. All that I have encountered teach kindness; do unto others as you would have them do to you; be thankful; be helpful, etc. Some have even stretched themselves, grown more open and accepting of others. If they could all live what they preach, wow.
My nephew is an Eagle Scout. I appreciate all that the Scouts taught him. During one conversation in his youth, long before he knew my personal history, I mentioned that the only thing I did not like about them was their prejudice against gay people. He responded that he didn’t like that either. “But, if only closed minded people join, then they will stay closed minded. Things will only change if open minded people are a part of the organization.” He was a wise boy and has since grown to be a wise man. The Boy Scouts are currently voting to change their policy, his “vote” counting all the more for his participation in Scouts.
Things can improve for all, if we all participate in the organization we refer to as humankind. Even the word itself should tell us something…humankind.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

7-8-13 RMB Games We Play

7-8-13 RMB Games We Play 

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Writing and walking have been added to reading as my personal addictions. I’ve often heard how reading keeps some awake nights when they are caught up in a good book. One gentlemen posted on the internet that you had kept him awake several nights, each time he picked up a new book you’d written that he couldn’t put down until he reached the end.

Reading does the opposite for me, puts me at peace and eases me quickly into slumber. So, instead of reading at night, I carry a book and find nooks and crannies in my day to read. When going out to dinner with family they often banish my book from the car and insist I chat with them while we wait for a table. I like that they do that, although, if they didn’t, I would be reading. Funny, if I didn’t attempt to read, I am sure I would be able to sit in silence while we wait. Interesting, the games we play.

Writing keeps me awake and wakes me up. Walking helps me make it through the day, helps me feel complete, as though I have done something with my day. Interesting the things we are attached to, addicted to, and how they assist…or harm us. What do we gravitate to and why?

And to who, or is it whom, we gravitate to, that is a whole ‘nother subject. Forgive me for veering off course a bit, into my own cosmos…I am enjoying reading Bingo and have found some phrases and some insights, particularly moving. In the next few letters, I will get out of my own head and back into some serious RMB commentary…well, as serious as one can be who writes letters such as these. 



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

7-7-13 RMB Glory in a Common Moment

7-7-13 RMB Glory in a Common Moment
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Schedules at work are shifting to accommodate comings and goings. A new marketing person comes aboard. My friend stays on part time to assist with sales…and help keep me sane or at least on an even keel.
I do what I can. I show up. I am praised, but there is so much more to do and my contribution so insignificant. If I were more focused, if I worked more hours, if I…had the answers, then significance would be evident…to me.
In the jigsaw puzzle of life, the pieces change shape and the picture transforms itself. What fits today, might not fit another day. Over and over we hear it is the journey, not the destination, that matters most. Yet, we journey on keeping score, as if there is a magic number to reach, a perfection to attain.
You mention, in your books, fitting square pegs in round holes, or vice versa.
Have you found the place where everything fits as it should, snug and warm? Does anyone ever find that place? I don’t think so because, if they did, things would change and then the pieces would no longer fit.
There are moments of perfection, some within us, some in the view of someone or something else, a sunset, a butterfly passing by, a puppy at play, the sight of a person you love, some moments are glorious. Every once in a while everything fits perfectly for a fraction of a second or a moment or a day. And all the rest of the time, we are left with finding the perfection in the imperfect, the glory in a common moment.
It is there. It is in the second glance that most won’t take. It is within reach of those that reach further. It can be shared. It can be nurtured, until others see it or feel it too.
Listen to the language of the wind, feel the softness of a flower petal or the energy of the sun as it warms your face or the beat of a song, strong enough to dance with your heart, or see the colors of sunrise awaken the colors in our world, watch everything turn from dark, to grey, to multicolored, and allow yourself, in that moment, to be content, to be perfect, to fit.
This, finding where we fit, if only in an instant, it is possible, and to be the best that we can be, I think some form of this, necessary. So, I remind myself to reach for it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

7-6-13 RMB Georgia Beers

7-6-13 RMB Georgia Beers

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Georgia Beers is another author I admire. While putting the final touches on America, I read one of her books, Too Close to Touch. Then I went back and revised my almost-a-novel because, after reading her love story, what mine lacked was obvious. Then I visited her website It’s a wonder I get much writing done. 

Anyway, on her website there are two videos. One is a talk she did at the 2013 Gold Crown Literary Society Conference, where she was the keynote speaker, and the other is “A Day in the Life of a Romance Writer.” Both are fun to watch. 

I know computers are not your thing, but there is likely someone in your life that can fire up a website on an ipad or a smart phone or some other contraption. And, if among the hundred other things you are doing at any given moment, you are so inclined to check out the videos, I think you will find Georgia Beers someone of interest. Her talk is insightful and the video she made is fun to watch. It doesn’t hurt that she is easy on the eye. 

It just occurred to me that you might already be a fan. If that is the case, scratch all this and I’ll just say “Me too.”

Cheers to Georgia,


Sunday, September 22, 2013

7-5-13 RMB Translations

7-5-13 RMB Translations
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Lately I have been paying particular attention to lyrics of songs. The creativity there, sometimes it is moving, sometimes breathtaking.
I like Melissa Etheridge. I get what she is trying to say in her songs, or maybe I interpret them as what I would be saying with those same words. My “adult” sister once took a ride in my car. She questioned the lyrics playing on the CD. “What does she mean by that?”
I proceeded to fill in the blanks. After each Melissa line, I produced a translation into terms my sister would grasp. “Did you read that somewhere? Did it say someplace that is what the song is about?”
“No, that is what I hear.” She got it then. She understood. I was glad to have been a part of that particular understanding in that particular moment.
A recent song of Melissa’s has two lines that strike a chord with me, “I won’t fade from the dark and strange.” and “Feel the moon, get to know the stars.”
“I won’t fade from the dark and strange.” I would like to think that I am that wise, that strong. My ex is. After a heated argument with my ex, who was not yet my ex, I did something I had not done for years, not since I had allowed myself to feel that deeply…many years before.
In the middle of the afternoon the next day, I picked her up unexpectedly. I didn’t think I would be seeing her that day. If I had, I would have worn a long sleeved shirt. I thought of putting on a jacket that was in the trunk, but it was a hot day. I decided it was not a big deal. The three visible marks could easily have been scratches left by my cat or from scraping my arm on something I picked up.
She noticed almost immediately. She didn’t have to ask. She grabbed my wrist, showed me my forearm and said “Don’t ever do this. Promise me you won’t ever do this again.”
I don’t know if she was looking for it. I didn’t recall ever discussing that aspect of my dark side with her. “It was just a butter knife. It barely broke the skin.” It was an exchange, one pain for another, one out of control pain for a manageable one.
“Promise me.” Her grip was tight, her jaw clenched, and her blue eyes held me in her gaze.
She knew if I made a promise I would keep it. “Okay,” I said, “I promise.” She let go, obviously shaken. Oddly, I wanted to console her. Perhaps she feared I had, or would, revisit suicide. I didn’t. I won’t.
Years later, a teen, a relative, sat across from me at a coffee shop with an arm ravaged by the same kind of marks to a degree far deeper than I ever sank. His mother had recently committed suicide. “I won’t fade from the dark and strange.” I let him know I understood it offered relief, but he has other options, he needed to seek other, better, methods of relief. I didn’t know him well enough to ask any promise of him, but I could encourage him to feel the moon and get to know the stars.

Friday, September 20, 2013

7-4-13 RMB Another Holiday

7-4-13 RMB Another Holiday

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Happy 4th of July! Really, I hope you had a good one, despite the following letter.

Oh joy, another holiday. People change on holidays, things that are ordinarily not important become critical, timing of dinner, what to cook, which recipe to use and more of such silliness. Who will visit who and where and at what time and how many other visits can we fit in? 

I learned early on, or possibly taught myself, that it was important to work, work and then work some more. All of the sudden there is no working because it is the 4th. That bothers me. What makes the 4th more special than the 5th? Or the 25th more important than the 26th of another month? 

Maybe that’s why I don’t like holidays. They are an interruption, an interruption that includes change, grumble, grumble. 

Oh, there is an explanation for each one. Someone decided this is the day we celebrate blah, blah blah…fill in the appropriate reason for the day in question. Maybe I just don’t like being told what to do. I don’t like being told that on one certain day you must visit and rejoice. I have nothing against visiting and rejoicing, I just want to do it in my own time; in my own way.

But, alas, I dutifully showed up to take my sister and the boys to our friend’s house, where we visited with more friends, while the boys swam in the pool. I reluctantly admit that I had some nice conversations. I admit, also, that I would not likely visit and rejoice much without the holiday interruptions. I would be working. 

We came home to a frightened dog as fireworks blasted away at our local park a few miles down the road. Pretty colors streak the sky that can be seen from my front door. I’d gladly trade the pretty colors in exchange for the dog’s peace of mind. Does any animal like fireworks? Aren’t there tons of pets all over? So why do we keep up this tradition that scares them so?

Then again, why do we do so much of what we do?

With more questions than answers,


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

7-3-13 RMB Create

 7-3-13 RMB Create

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

A cousin has passed away today. It seems appropriate to note his passing here, a marker in time that clearly states, today we lost our cousin. 

My heart goes out to his family. I remember once watching him play baseball on a family trip through New Mexico. He was a tall, muscular young man. I believe he was still in his late teens, bright and handsome. Not having seen him for decades, it is a stretch to picture that strapping young man as a middle aged adult whose body failed him. 

The editor Jennifer Redmond referred me to a website with instruction for being a better writer. I found this quote there:

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
~Chuck Palahniuk          

Two thoughts struck me. One was of my cousin and what he has left behind, his legacy. He leaves me with the memory of warm summer day in a community ball park, watching him play and then afterwards enjoying a BBQ meal with his parents and multiple siblings, including brothers that also played. One memory of a day, with one person, multiply that times the days of his life, the people in his life, the result is mind boggling.

Secondly, when we work to improve anything, we improve everything. That quote was by a writer and could be read in relation to writing specifically. However, it could also be read in relation to life. Our lives are short and shorter still is the time in which we can contribute to such a creation, one that takes on a life of its own on a grand scale. 

From another perspective, every creation both the grandiose and small, lives on. Whether we paint the ceiling of chapel or doodle a flower, we have created something. Some would argue that one is greater than the other, one holds more importance. I think that is an element at the root of our discord. 

When we judge, we determine greatness based on our own nominal awareness rather than recognize the greatness before us and relish in its unique nature. We diminish each other’s creation and, by doing so, we diminish ourselves too. This is where iniquity flourishes. This is how one preference is determined to be “right” and makes all others “wrong”. This is how minor discrimination leads to concentration camps. 

Until we honor each moment equally, respect each person, appreciate all creation, both large and small, major and minor, we are missing something. We are missing an opportunity to be better.

Ever amazed,


Monday, September 16, 2013

6-28-13 RMB Pathways

6-28-13 RMB Pathways    
Dear Rita Mae Brown,

I am moving slowly towards the end of Bingo now, the follow up book to Six of One. I am taking my time, trying to prolong my association with the characters. I see so much of you in Nickel; so much of Nickel in you. Allow me latitude for that. I know that statement takes some liberties.

I only know of Nickel what you have written and I only know of you what I have gathered from my own interpretations and impressions. There is so much of you that I don’t know, so much of your work I have yet to make my way though. Like a kid at an amusement park, I have plenty to explore. I am sure I could spend a lifetime getting to know you through your work and, still, barely skim the surface of who you are. You are a mystery, and a moving target at that.

The more I write these letters, the more obvious it is that we are all mysteries to one another and, indeed, even to ourselves. As I write, I wonder what others would write in their letters, if they were to write letters like these. Who would they write to? What topics would hold court in their words? Who would they honor or, heaven forbid, disparage? Would the essence of who they are shine through their words? Does mine?

One of my brothers, the “people are people” brother, he told great stories when we were young. They were true stories, things that happened to him at school or at work or of ourselves in years when we were too young to remember. Now he is an avid reader.  

On our family reunion, I gave him the file of my RMB letters. I told him “I’d like to see you write something like this or stories or anything. It would be interesting to see what you would write.” I hope I planted a seed that will result in words to later read. As mentioned previously, we don’t talk much to one another in our family. For all I know, he has already written volumes, if not on paper, then in his mind or on his computer. After all, he is the story teller.

In the Introduction to Bingo, you talk about people exploring their creativity. You indicate that the end result is something that affects us all, something that improves our chances for a better tomorrow. I suppose evil could lurk in creativity, along with greatness, but creativity tends to draw out the best of us. Subconsciously no one wants to say “Hey look what I made, wrote or did” and have it be an evil thing. We want to impress people, impress upon them and to impress ourselves as well, maybe most of all.

I used to marvel at a friend’s doodling. As she spoke on the phone, she would swirl her pen around creating flowers and twirly patterns on tablets or napkins or receipts, whatever was handy. There was something interesting there, the images were magical in their twirly way. 

Whatever it is we create, as we create, we grow. We show sides of our self previously hidden, or dormant or non-existent. We are creating more than a work of art, literature, sculpture… however minor, however great. When we create, we create pathways to understanding humanity.    



Saturday, September 14, 2013

6-27-13 RMB Resonance

6-27-13 RMB Resonance
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Why do we write? Where do the words come from?
I know it is common for a writer’s words to flow without thought, without a plan. Characters take on a life of their own, words travel in packs and accompany one another on the page filling in blanks and expounding on facts.
I wonder where the characters, and their worlds, live prior to the author taking pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard. Are they within the author? I am sure some would say yes, especially if they had never written before. But once you have written a story, felt it come to life, allowed the words to flow of their own accord, there is no denying the magic there.
At seven I wondered who was writing the story I etched onto paper in pencil. Yes, I had wanted to write it. I had started to write the story. But someone else, something else, was finishing it. Honestly, it scared me a bit, and yet I could not stop it. Like a runaway train, it carried me all the way to “the end.”
The same force now holds me captive until 1am and awakens me at 4am…to write, RMB letters and my stories, the words dance the dark hours away, hours previously spent in deep sleep. I am powerless to stop them until, from pure exhaustion, my eyes close, sometimes still sitting on my couch with keyboard upon my lap.
I think we have more help than we realize…another entity? God? a higher self within us? other souls?
I don’t know where this invisible force comes from and it applies to more than words, an inspired painting, a movie…a garden, a special meal, a certain recipe, a team effort, a work of art or work of greatness, if only in the briefest of moments…or carried through the life of the work, often on to those that view it, read it, relish it, long after its creation…think Mona Lisa…(grin) or Rubyfruit Jungle.
As I touch up the rough edges of my want-to-be-a-novel story, America, I see the theme come full circle. The story concludes itself and suddenly makes more sense than before. I am more the listener than the teller of it, the child in me being read to, the adult in me carrying the story forth in written word for others.
When I ask, for the umpteenth time, why a friend likes these letters, she responds “They all have everything you want out of whatever you read…They all have resonance.” That is where it lives when the work is complete, the unseen force, the magic, it lives in the resonance.
Still in awe of it all,

Friday, September 13, 2013

6-26-13 RMB Thank You Mrs. Brown

6-26-13 RMB Thank You Mrs. Brown
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Continuing on the gratitude trend…I’d like to express my thanks for a certain Mrs. Brown. Yes, that is really her name. She was my nephew’s teacher, as well as his Speech and Debate Coach.
In addition to being born with my sister’s “adult” common sense, he was born with an exceptional mind. One would think that having such assets makes for an easy life, but everyone has hurdles. My hope is that every student may find their own Mrs. Brown to help guide them over their hurdles.
In High School he joined Speech and later became President of the team. Often I would hear about Mrs. Brown. After a while, I saw Mrs. Brown’s influence in him. The things he relayed to me, her values, her teaching, I could see them in his actions. She had a profound effect on him and others.
He honored me by saying “She reminds me of you”. She helped shape him into the man he has become, one that the family is quite proud of. Eventually, I was able to attend one of his Speech competitions with him and looked forward to the pleasure of making her acquaintance.
I saw her from a distance and the draw she had on her students was obvious. She was surrounded by the team, eager for her attention and direction. She sent them to various rooms to their final rounds of the competition. She took a moment to chat with me. I had the chance to thank her in person for her time with my nephew and her work, as both teacher and coach. And now I am writing about my gratitude for her friendship with my nephew and her contribution to the kind of person he has become…
In his youth, my nephew accompanied me to conventions and trade shows, some for work and some for pleasure. He was always helpful, often escorting direction challenged adults to their cars or conference rooms. After just one look at a map, he can navigate a convention center or airport as if he worked there. We laughed at the LA convention center’s Book Expo America one year, when he was asked to escort the adults to where they needed to be, as he was a still a minor. “Minors are not to be left unattended” the loud speaker boomed on a regular basis. We sent extra, equally direction challenged, adults with him for the return walk.
At a young age, when he took a liking to a certain gaming company’s product, he contacted them and asked if he could assist them with their trade shows. He struck up an arrangement to work with them in exchange for product. He was still a young teen. At one convention in Anaheim California he accidentally left his Speech and Debate jacket.
Travel forward a year and a half…he was walking through an airport in Chicago, on his way to a flight headed to Indianapolis, to work one of the trade shows. He noticed a woman wearing a jacket with a logo that looked, from a distance, like his Speech and Debate Team logo.
Upon boarding the flight he passed the woman in her seat. It was the logo from his California high school team. He determined to chat with the woman when they departed the plane. He found her easily enough. She was among the group of people gathered to represent the gaming company, people from all areas of the country flown in for the convention.
As he approached her, he saw his name on the jacket. “Excuse me, you have my jacket on. I was just wondering how you came by it.”
“This is you?!?” she pointed to his name, “You’re Ray Ibarra???” Then she proceeded to gather the group, “Hey everyone, this is Ray Ibarra.” Apparently others were in on her quest to meet him.
He came to learn that woman wearing his jacket was a Vice President in the gaming company. His jacket had been among the items brought back to their corporate office after the Anaheim trade show. Although trade shows were something she rarely participated in, when she did, she wore his jacket, hoping to meet him. She had heard about him and what she heard, left that much of an impression.
She was two levels above anyone he had ever dealt with at the company. He had no idea how she might have heard about him. He was still in his teens. In the course of wearing his jacket for several months, she met others that had Ray stories; others that knew him or of him and recognized his name, building her interest in meeting him.
He, in turn, was honored to meet her. They had a good laugh about it. She thanked him for his work with the company. He graciously told her to keep the jacket.
This letter is written with gratitude for Mrs. Brown and her influence on my nephew who also became the kind of person that people hear about, want to meet, actively seek, and upon meeting … celebrate the occasion with gratitude of their own.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

6-25-13 RMB Thank Yous

6-25-13 RMB Thank Yous

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

A friend gave me the book 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik. It sounded like my kind of book, but maybe a bit on the mushy side. It is not mushy. It is about a real man facing real problems. It is about how his life progressed and the part that gratitude played in that progression. I liked it enough to pass it on to another friend with high praise. 

John Kralik’s book moved gratitude to the forefront of my thoughts. I look for something to be grateful for several times a day. I would like to think I did that before reading his book, or The Secret, or books by Wayne Dyer. But we need to be reminded so many times to do what is best for us, best for all, before it becomes habit. I am sure his book plays a part in who I am today. I like how books do that.

I keep a list of things I am thankful for in a planner. It includes one word things, the sun, trees, names of family and friends, books, etc. These letters often contain my gratitude, to you and others. Perhaps they will contain more in the future, here, where I can elaborate more than one word gratitudes. For example, I am grateful for certain moments… 

The youngest one of my three adopted nephews was born to a mother who did not take care of herself, and thus did not take care of him, as he grew within her. He was born facing a struggle to survive, underweight and in need of daily breathing treatments with medication. 

A plastic mask was placed over his tiny face and a noisy pump pushed medication into his lungs as he breathed in the smoky substance. He hated it. Starting at only weeks old, it could not be explained to him that it was necessary; that it was done out of love for him. 

The one best able to administer this treatment was my friend and his new momma Maria, my hero, and this is part of the reason why. She loves enough to do what is necessary, even when it is difficult. She held the tiny boy and sang him Jesus songs followed by The Ants Go Marching One by One nightly as he squirmed and cried, trying to get away from the monstrous machine and scary mask. Eventually he came to know the songs. He came to understand that at the end of The Ants Go Marching One by One, he would be done with the treatment. 

I wish all of those that say a gay person should not adopt could have seen this…every night for months that stretched into years of various forms of medication and treatments. Maria gave his body life with those treatments. She gave him a life in her family. He was the first adopted, but not the last. 

There was another hero there. He was three, another boy who’s biological mother’s choices landed him under Maria’s care and eventually in her two mom family. The boys were not biologically related, but the older boy participated nightly, making faces, dancing a jig, singing songs, doing everything humanly possible to get the baby boy to smile, to let him know he was in the presence of those who cared. 

And sometimes, in his new mother’s arms, under that mask, through the smoky vapor, while listening to Maria sing, with eyes fixed on his new brother…a smile appeared.

With gratitude for witnessing it, 


Saturday, September 7, 2013

6-24-13 RMB Words That Sway Destiny

6-24-13 RMB Words That Sway Destiny
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
My editor, my friend, has informed me there are still places in my story, the almost a novel story America, that don’t work. Today it contains 50,800 words and apparently needs more, more description, more explanation, but I am no longer prompted to add more sex, whew.
I may sound like a push over, complying to my reviewers directives. But I find that with each re-write, I like the story better. They draw from me that which they know I have inside of me. I am fortunate to have such friends, members of my Writer’s Circle. We have been meeting monthly-ish for nearly a decade.
Sometimes I think we meet to socialize, because we are more friends than writers. Then one of us reads something written and we are reminded of why we call this group a Writer’s Circle. It is because we can write words that transport, affect and leave a resonance. It is because we see something more in words than the alphabet.
We see the future, the past, and the possibilities of life. We see how writing gives those elements a voice, a translation from the ethereal to the solid.
Society honors authors, poets…has there ever been a philosopher that was not an author or whose teachings were not authored by someone? Even scientists, whose work unveils the mysteries of our universe, must write for their findings to be brought to light, for them to lend knowledge to future generations, making their work twofold, research and writing, to be complete.
I still wonder sometimes about the whys for these RMB letters. Many answers have occurred to me and yet I know there is more. I write as a form of passive activism…for more than gay rights, for kindness, for mutual respect and understanding for all. I write to make a connection with one person and, via the internet, with the world; to connect this one person I admire with some that might not have otherwise connected to you. I write to explain what I have learned about the mystical side of life…my own scientific research of sorts.
Those are some reasons I can put into words. There are others. One revolves around something that has not happened yet. There will be a time when an event occurs, related to these letters, and that event will be one reason for them that I can not see clearly at this time. But I know with a knowing that haunts me that it is so.
Perhaps the event is a series of events or simply one person reading the letters who then becomes someone different than they otherwise would have more understanding? Perhaps I will never know in this lifetime, as Anne Frank never knew the impact of her diary on the world in her short life. She knows now. Of that I am certain.
It is not myself or even my own words, that I credit or honor regarding these letters. It is the words themselves, mine and other’s. Words of kindness and insight hold great power. They can sway destiny.
Eternally yours,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

6-23-13 RMB Not Shy

6-23-13 RMB Not Shy
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
When the boys sleepover, I sleep in sweatpants instead of shorts; a big t-shirt instead of a tank, lest there be a need for me to get up in the night with them. I wait until I am in my room for the night to remove socks and other under garments. I don’t know where this modesty came from, but I have always had it; never one to feel comfortable in a swimsuit and all…not really one to feel comfortable in anyone’s presence at all, clothed or not.
I am sure therapy would reveal a source for these issues, but I don’t do therapy…no matter how many people tell me I should. I write Rita Mae Brown letters.
Speaking of RMB, there is one publicity photo of you in a pink shirt from decades passed where you have a long sleeved, pink turtle neck on with dress slacks, but you are barefoot. I find that risqué…in a good way. Perhaps it is because you are so well covered otherwise. Intriguing.
I do believe in past lives. I think there are too many indications that we have lived before to deny it. I wonder if my modesty came from another time. It has an 1800’s feel to it. It frustrated lovers to no end.
I carry a vivid memory of once being introduced to a family friend. I must have been around four. I hung to my mother’s leg; tried to hide behind it. She apologized to the woman, “Sorry, she’s shy.”
‘I’m shy? That’s what I am? That’s why I don’t like being near people?’ I learned something about myself that day, or at least another’s interpretation of myself.
It is 1:00 am, perhaps this is the hour rambling begins.
As I grew, I analyzed what it meant to be shy. Its definition seemed to include a fear; fear of meeting people; of being around people. I came to the conclusion that I am not shy. I just don’t like people. I should rephrase that. I don’t like the way I feel when I am near people. There is too much energy; too many issues surfacing…mine? their’s?
By my thirties, after much research into paranormal and all things mystical, knowing more about myself than ever before, I could identify where another’s aura begins. I can see that it isn’t the people that bother me…it is deeper than that. It is their essence. With some, their need is overwhelming. With many, their own insecurities scream out. With others their deceit or personal agenda shows itself.
I wonder how many others who are sensitive to such things have been called “shy”. I wonder how many learn that they are not shy at all. I consider it a gift, insight, wisdom, awareness…maybe I give myself too much credit. But I have seen others that have the same gifts. My niece’s kindergarten friend that she protected from the world, who is now a college man and still an ever faithful friend, he is gifted as such.
With gratitude for our gifts,

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

6-22-13 RMB Getting Along

6-22-13 RMB Getting Along
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
My three boys are having a sleepover. We watched the movie Joshua together. I try to find something with a lesson to watch with them, like the Waltons or a movie with a message. This movie was about a man that walks the walk of Jesus. It is a bit over the top, but the acting is good; the storyline interesting. The boys watch it, paying as much attention as they do to any show.
Afterwards, I briefly touch on why I wanted them to watch it, especially in regard to kindness and the act of it. At ten-ish my sister and I turn in for the night, leaving them to monopolize the living room as only one preteen and two under ten can do. Pillows and blankets are on the floor, the couch and recliner. The dog joins them. Toys come out. Snacks are opened. And they put a DVD of an action-drama television series in the DVD player.
They can watch what they want, eat what they want, play what they want and stay up as late as they want. I sit on the couch in my bedroom with the door open, typing Rita Mae Brown letters…and listen.
I hear arguing, the beginnings of fight. Recently I put my foot down with them…no more disrespect to moms or each other, time to start taking care of their things, their rooms, their house and their relationships. A week ago while on the phone one mom told me the boys were not picking up as they were told to do. That’s an understatement. These three boys have learned to push both mom’s buttons, play them like a fine symphony, with all the sections, every instrument mastered.
I went to the house and had a brief pow wow with their mom. With her consent, I lined up three boys, all more than willing to pick up their rooms and the house, now that I had arrived. I informed them that they were too late. If they did not want to pick up their toys, I would relieve them of the need to do so.
The moms and I went through the house and filled twelve large garbage bags with toys, books and assorted treasures. After the stun wore off the boys helped. It always surprises me how they will participate, sometimes willingly, sometimes gladly, in their own punishment. They were a big help.
The bags now sit in my garage, waiting to be returned to boys that have learned to be more respectful and keep what is left in the house neat and orderly. This isn’t the first time they have had to earn back their things, but I hope it is the last. It helps that with every request for another toy or object, they are reminded about the bags that haven’t been earned back yet.
So after only minor sleepover squabbles, their freedom vanished; lights out, TV off, no more playing. I face three boys who all say they understand why and comply. Twenty minutes later I hear whispering, quiet playing in friendly tones. I walk out to find them thinking they are busted for playing. Instead I praise them for getting along. I can’t stress enough that his is all I want, to know that these three will go out in the world and get along with those whose path they cross.
The lights and TV go on, the game resumes. Twenty minutes later I hear arguing begin again…only this time the eldest says “Hey, stop arguing. We’ll get in trouble.” Amazingly they settle. Progress???
Good night,