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While cleaning the garage, I found a tape recording from Carol, an astrological counselor I’d consulted while suffering through the darkest days of my life journey. In six months, two family members committed suicide–both young men. One death was caused by my gun and my bullets, which I had not hidden well enough to thwart a young man high on drugs and alcohol.
Like Cassandra, I’d foreseen family stresses and desperately sought help, but no one listened. I managed to get everyone in front of a therapist at the same time, but my attractive, witty family charmed him into pronouncing them all well-adjusted. I was old, out-of-touch, imagining things.
While I was in my initial stage of grieving, a well-meaning priest attempted to explain why God hadn’t answered my prayers to save my family. The suicides, he said, were consequences of forces set in motion long ago. That was true. Was he saying those forces were stronger than God? He avoided answering that question.
Exhausted by grief and guilt, I turned to Carol and her astrological acumen. In speaking to me and by casting my chart, she determined that underneath the rubble of my self-loathing, I was a seeker, whose will it was to armor through darkness in search of light. She compiled mini-charts of those with whom I was involved–they were wall-builders, disinclined to self-awareness. Reconciliation attempts would continue to be futile. I did not need those people in my life. “Give them to the universe,” she said. “Let the universe care for them.”
What a blow! Hope rises as a natural desire and I refused to accept her advice. With passage of time, however, I found she was right. I’d need to carve out a new life and leave part of my family behind.
I was a sentimental person. Memories were fly-papered to my soul–children’s fingerprints on my high school graduation photo, dandelion bouquets, long games of Clue and Monopoly, bedtime stories, a set of pastel bowls, so many, so many…
I followed Carol’s instructions. Without bitterness, I cast my memories into the heavens, and after a short time, they lost their power to torment.
The universe treated me kindly and I was unused to kindness. As a result, I fell in love with the heavens, planets, clouds, the moon, the stars, the dim winter sun. It forgave me, accepted me, and I flourished.
I tried to email Carol to tell her of my progress, but she didn’t answer. Later, her partner responded–she’d passed away. I told him I was grateful for her help. He said that had been her mission–to help people.
Often I look into the night sky and see Carol there. How many others did she help?
amid the stars.
I’ve been writing poetry today, not creating, but tending to line breaks, listening for sound structures, weighing words. The poems are about a river storm, a shooting of an old, sick dog, and a worm’s destruction of rosebushes. I had in mind to write one about my fabulous back yard–I’ll do that tomorrow.
But I can’t keep the present out. Another shooting. The worst one we’ve ever had. I’m aghast. I’m numb.
I’m also riding a wave of anger. I’m mad at the NRA, which goes past reason, accountability, and morality in its refusal to support stronger gun legislation and enforcement of current laws. Selling a person with ISIS connections a gun–an AR assault rifle–is unconscionable. The seller didn’t know? The seller should have known.
I’m furious at politicians–Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians. A pox on all their houses! How dare they not do their jobs. I’m mad at apathetic people, those who counsel “thought” and “prayers” to solve our direst problems. I’m mad at the media, at TV news that is biased and simply ON TOO LONG. Orwell’s telescreen in 1984 continually spouted propaganda.
As far as I know, my TV isn’t monitoring me, but my computer is.
I’m mad because education isn’t given the financing it merits. An education helps you assess data and come to informed decisions. The Constitution was not created by uneducated people. The finest minds in the country came together to create our nation. How we dare we shame our forefathers by electing bumpkins to be our leaders!
I’m also mad about that kid in California getting away with rape, but that’s another entire issue–the denigration and control of women. I’m saving that for my next rant.
I’ve come to the conclusion that what’s wrong with America is us. We’re not standing up for our basic principles. We’re sloppy, lazy, and self-focused. We’re closing our eyes to what’s slipping away–and I don’t mean the Fifties (let that time of hypocrisy go). I mean our future.
Lynne Handy, Poet
I am pleased to announce that my novella, The Untold Story of Edwina, is ready for purchase on Amazon.
When poet Maria Pell agrees to write a biography of deceased writer Edwina Frost, she has no clue that the horror fiction maven’s ghost will tag along. Complicating matters is the discovery of a child’s bones on Frost property. How does Louise, Edwina’s aloof sister, figure into the story? Her Poe-quoting cousin James? Then there’s the Spanish poet who writes of peacocks…
Maria loves her housemate, Mathieu. So does her gorgeous red-headed neighbor, Sybi, who shares photos of dried monkey heads to help with his article on voodoo. As Maria’s jealousy grows, will she suffer the same fate as Edwina? Will a malevolent spirit possess her? Read The Untold Story of Edwina to find out.
I’m pleased to announce that my poetry and I are on pages 40-41. Read the magazine.
As a poet and writer, I’m fortunate to live in the Fox Valley in Illinois. Not only does the area proliferate with writers groups, many attached to libraries, there is abundant support for writers. People care enough about local talent to set aside time from busy lives to provide venues, get out and listen to readings, applaud writers, and participate in forums, most of them informal, to solve problems inherent in publishing and marketing.
I’m primarily a poet and want to spend my time creating. The rest of my writing time I spend researching and editing. Once a poem is written and fleshed out, I begin editing. I care passionately about image and sound, and may rewrite a poem forty times before I deem it ready to submit to my poets group, Open Sky Poets, and/or send to editor Gloria Boyer.
Before “Spy Car and Other Poems,” I’d never put a chapbook together. The task seemed daunting because of the number of poems required–40-70. In autumn 2015, I had more than enough and began identifying the poems I wanted to include.
Once I determined the order in which the poems would appear, I handed them over to Kevin Moriarity, who handled the formatting, all dealings with CreateSpace, and most of the marketing.
The MGB on the chapbook cover (and the inspiration for the final poem) belongs to my grandson, Jeff Krabec. Jeff patiently photographed the car (two occasions), and magician friend William Pack waved a magic wand and gave the photograph artistic qualities.
Throughout the process, I enjoyed the support of Open Sky Poets Frank Rutledge, Brandon Fink, and Jen May. Thanks to everyone who helped me produce “Spy Car and Other Poems.”