Six Degrees Vignettes

6 Degrees Writer: Vignettes that VIP!

My Love affair with VIP! I’ve often had love affairs with words. One of them was from the old Stephen Colbert opening when he was on the Comedy Channel: It was “Grippy!” Colbert was on this Dana Carvey Comedy Show with Steve Carell and I used to be haunted by the fact that I was the only one who thought that show was hilariously funny! Now these people are famous and acknowledged and it validates my instincts for comedy in some quiet way. It doesn’t have to be shouted from rooftops but I can say this: I know funny when I see it! And the other love affair with words is for Dorothy Parker and her great vocabulary. There is Robert Benchley and James Thurber as well. All had great love affairs with words… And I, in turn, have this continuing flirtation with their creative displays and the lovely playful word feasts they have created. (Never a simple ‘word salad’ for these artists!) My newest love affair with words comes from an old Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie where Hudson saw the V.I.P designation and decided to make up a company called “VIP” And it’s like “Zudz!” or some fifties style brand that is just hilariously funny and teeming with meaning and onomatopoeia!… To my mind, VIP! embodies this great McGuffin of undertones for all the things we think are out there like widgets and prototypes and templates for items that are creative ideas and thoughts that never take flight! Instead…They VIP!   On the Randomness of Words: Felicitous Felicitous is thus defined: It’s an adjective most often used in formal speech and writing to describe something that is very well expressed or suited for some purpose or situation. It can also be used as a synonym for pleasant or delightful. Perhaps we know that it’s NOT the thing we hear most often these days simply because…there is not a lot of pleasant and delightful things to tell others about the news or present day world when we hear about modern life. A better idea instead might be to learn to re-orient and re-acquaint ourselves with news that is pleasant and delightful! And then-we need to know when to express our thoughts in a pleasant and well-suited manner. It sounds like a very old-fashioned type of wish for a very ultra-modern world where courtesy and manners and grace are somehow unknown quantities. And it’s also a sad fact of modern life.     The Random Bible Verse ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?’ Matthew 5:13 This almost seems to be a joke or a parody as random verses go. The salt of the earth I have never heard questioned in this manner. It also teaches us that the meaning is sometimes lost as we hear about those good ol’ ‘salt of the earth’ types and never question the meaning from whence the phrase came! Further reading tells us this: You are not JUST the salt of the Earth but the Light of the World. And I suppose it means you shouldn’t hide that light under a bushel. Salt can be ruined and thrown out, but if you let your light shine before others, and they see your good works, you may become as a beacon of light and a shining example to the whole world!  

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6 Degrees Vignettes for April

Note of Excitement: “Not all who wander are lost!”   I was driving and saw a sign that was attached to a rear spare tire on a Jeep that read: “Not all who wander are lost.” You can’t imagine the excitement I felt when seeing a ‘sign’ that there was someone else who loved the special saying I have on a pendant.  I loved the saying because it reminds me so much of Oedipa Maas and The Crying of Lot 49 (a book I dearly love.) Oedipa saw ‘signs’ everywhere that led her to think there was a secret underground conspiracy that was huge! And in this current day and age, the message seems so much more relevant. People seem to find meaning in signs and seeds for conspiracies just about everywhere these days. This phrase that I love on my pendant: “Not all who wander are lost” is either from The Lord of the Rings and /or Shakespeare. The original goes something like:  Not all that glitters is gold….& Not all who wander are lost!           I suppose the point is that nothing is as it seems. And that is how it should be in life!   The 3 AM Window leaves me with “The” on the page! There is this Creator’s myth where we hear of writers having wonderful inspirational passages that fly from the pen at 3 AM in the morning. Only to find in the stark light of day that the entire process was a sham and you are left with slashing your darling prose to leave when editing is done. You are usually just left with something like one “The’ on the page… When you write you write and you are always looking for touches of greatness.  And you are frustrated when you lose something you deem great or just good enough to fool others. Only you may discover it’s just not there! You are forced to write again or just give it up. In my case, it’s not like I have this 3 AM window of genius or a Hemingway-esque moment of grandeur… More than likely, I find that it’s akin to the moment in The Shining where we know the main character has run mad. But instead of the same words over and over, it’s this word salad that you thought was inspired but instead it just sounds like gibberish and jabberwocky. My writing mentor would always say: “Kill your Darlings’, so that leaves me with mostly “The’s” on the page! And then there is nothing more than a head full of dust and dirt-filled delusions where there were once dreams of  Beautiful Darling’s that extend forever! It IS a good thing that I am now starting to pitch my work and to send out stuff. It means I will be rejected, of course, but I can handle that. I see a lot of things written that I don’t like. I think editors are hard-pressed to find a large batch of good writing. There are good writers out there, but not as many as you might think. It runs the gamut from A to Blah There are competent writers, and those with some wit and humor and creative ideas, but they are few and far between. The pages that fill the internet are often filled with lots of rock-bottom feeders who are just slithering by. It’s not always creepy or demented, it’s just not good. Writers and critics like Dorothy Parker would make mincemeat out of the stuff we see today…It runs the gamut from A to Blecch! Or A to Blah or A to Zed….   The Random Fact about Kazakhstan   The largest country with no border-access to the open ocean is Kazakhstan, which has an area of 2,724,900 km² (1,052,100 mile²) and is bordered by Russia, China, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and the landlocked Caspian Sea. The thing is: I know of this place. I have heard of it, but the areas surrounding it are so foreign to all of us here in the West that it’s hard to fathom and embrace. A landlocked place is something foreign to someone who lives so close to the open sea. Water is always the thing that calms and soothes and brings great comfort to a community and people. That is why people live near bodies of water. So landlocked places that are wide are foreign to our understanding. But the central point may be more about a closed minded society-and not a landlocked one. That is why we have feared those with no doses of information to share and spread and feel. It is another way of living that tells us we can become mind-locked & then dead-locked,.  And in the end, that seems to be much more worrisome than to simply be landlocked and boxed in… 6 Degrees you might have missed… *Vignettes from the Past… *From The Growing Group….

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Spiritual Guideposts for Lent

For Palm Sunday…Here’s the Spiritual Guideposts for March Bible Passage You will have Success…Be Strong & Courageous 1 Chronicles 22:13 The Christian Life is open to new challenges.. We have to be ready to say –Yes! To the life we were meant to live-with Courage! From the Book: Life Coach/Christ Coach   “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. Scripture: Matthew 7:21-29 From Life Coach:  The point is so simple: Do you or don’t you? Will you or won’t you? Your life should be built on  a strong foundation. Beginning this month, work on making your word your bond. Make sure that you have a reputation for truth and honesty. And when you say you’re going to help someone, just do it. It’s that simple. If you cannot do something, don’t promise that you will. Not because Jesus says you should or shouldn’t. Jesus is teaching you, of course, to grow in the spirit.  Therefore, you will learn to make your word your bond because you want to build a reputation in your life for being the type of person that is depended upon when things go wrong. You can become a leader & a mentor for others.  But you must start by building your life on a strong foundation of truth and honesty. You can start today & go one step at a time. This month, commit to doing something for others. Your Motivational Passage   Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.” – Martin Luther At first, I thought this was from Martin Luther KING but the original Martin Luther was also a pretty good thinker!….Hope is the thing that set him off and made him want to begin to embark on something new.  He found the courage to challenge the world as his namesake so many years later challenged a new generation.  In both instances, they saw a place where people were tunnel-visioned and filled with dark despair and guilt and pain and hate. If your message is carried with hope, the world can become a changed place… (By the Way- Barack Obama’s message, too, was one of “Hope & Change’….It’s a message that still resonates today!) From Zen Koans   One of the Zen Masters was approached by a student who told him he had a problem.  Will you solve it for me, he asked? The Master agreed, but told him to wait till the evening lecture. That evening, he called the young man up front and then told the assembled group , “Look! This fellow has a problem!” He then shoved the man aside and quickly left to go to his room. The lesson? That if you have a problem, know that it is something immediate. It cannot wait till the evening to find a solution. And perhaps if you are asking for help, you need to be aware that the Zen Masters will not work to make your problem-solving EASY for you! You are there, after all, to work to unravel the questions put to you by these Masters of Zen. They will not be fooled!    

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On my 65th Birthday…To the girl I once was…

**Originally published in September of 2023  Writing to a girl I once knew…the “me’ that was 16 years old… Dear Friend, I got this idea to write to you after seeing a woman I admire write a letter similar to this as part of her MasterClass. So this is a way of just telling a story-a story of my life and how it works out-to you, a young girl who is so passionate and afraid and emotional.   I had always wanted to find this magic formula to know when I was going to be ‘all grown up!” And that moment never arrives…there is no real cut-off point to tell you when things are going to change for you. Some people are born with an’old soul.’ You can see it and hear it in their voices and just feel their wisdom exuding from every pore of their being. They are comfortable in their own skin and they know what they want and they work hard to get it. Those characters are surprisingly rare.   You were not born with an ‘old soul’ You have a vulnerability that is both touching and worrisome. You will find wisdom later in the words of your parents that you didn’t know existed at the time. And you will be hurt by some, and you will have moments of great joy and happiness in your life. That is all just a part of life and you will endure.   But it’s never going to be easy, and things don’t turn out the way you think they might. And that is not a bad thing! You will find that the road you’ve paved for yourself is often the road not taken by others. That is a perilous and sometimes a lonely journey for you.   But you will also find that forging courage and steeling yourself for challenges you face is one of the triumphs for the things you endure. We all face roads of uncertainty in our lives. But you will be able to weather the storm later in life by having come through the fires at some point.   None of this is going to change who you are. You will find that you may even bring comfort to others as they grow older and face challenges. That is the triumph of the will. But just know that you must keep as your lodestar the factor of love in your life. Don’t give up on people and things that cause you pain or sorrow at some point.   In the end, you will triumph as a better person. You will become a stronger person with the will to endure.  The stronger the spirit of a person that shines through, in my opinion, will indicate the greatest chance for happiness and joy as they grow older. You will know some people who possess great wisdom already. Seek them out and cherish all the moments of your life when you are at peace. Never stop learning in your life!   And know you will be a better person for it in the end. From that young girl who is 16, looking in a mirror and wishing she was someone else who was smarter and prettier and funnier…that is the person you are becoming and the woman you will be someday. Cherish your life and embrace the happiness you find along the way.   Nothing will change in the facts of your life because I have written to you. But I would love to impart the things I know now that I wish I knew then. I can say that your driving desire to write will never be extinguished. And you will fulfill that lifelong dream of being a writer and an Author. That is not the beginning and the end of your dreams, but life’s will and desires may become a self-fulfilling prophesy. You had a strong desire and your dreams came true…   Like Cinderella, that doesn’t mean that ‘happy-ever-after’ comes with it! You will need to persevere and not think about giving up. Too often, that has been your own self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. I think I CAN”T and I WON”T and I never DO! Your dreams will take a lot of courage to see them through. And life is never easy for most of us. It means we always struggle and we work hard to try and find success.   Success is something that you will redefine often during the course of your life and your career. And in the end, when so many of your dreams have come true, you will come to the realization that you have been able to succeed in the end in spite of your own insecurities and fear of failure.   You will even find a code of honor in that term: “Grand Failures!” It is one of the things you write about in life. And in the end, nothing is a sure thing other than the fact that you need to face your fears and own your own failings and weaknesses. At the end of the day,, the stronger spirit will prevail. In the end, you can be assured that your own life has been a life worth living. And you have lived to tell the tale!

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To all the Books I’ve Loved before…On Book Bans and beyond

**This post was originally posted in April of 2023 I am starting this essay thinking of all the books I’ve loved.  (It sort of reminds me of the Willie Nelson song paraphrased; “To all the Books I’ve loved before!…”) And all of the wonderful time spent just looking for a new book to read! And the anticipation of a favorite writer who has written a new book. All of those things have given me a love for literature and writing and for reading.  I came up with a short list of those books I have truly loved.  Some personal favorites from the National Book Month (every month for me!) for those of us who love books… To Kill a Mockingbird Catch 22 Kurt Vonnegut books; Slaughterhouse Five The Crying of Lot 49 from Thomas Pynchon Bailey White: Mama tells it… Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Gifts from the Sea Marjorie K Rawlings/ Cross Creek The Great Gatsby The Sun also Rises and A Moveable Feast/Hemingway Winesburg Ohio/Sherwood Anderson And I’ve also loved short stories. Some favorites include short stories by James Thurber & David Sedaris.  One of my favorites is Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party. There is Mark Twain’s The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg, and many others. I’m thinking of those plays I have read. Starting with Shakespeare, way back in college, of course, but then moving to plays by the theater of the absurd playwrights such as the plays by Becket & Pinter. I have a treasured book of their absurdist plays. I remember how much I loved reading Jean Kerr’s witty and funny plays like ‘Mary, Mary” Short story Anthologies I was an English major and loved the reading assignments and classes where we would read from Anthologies. It was such a smorgasbord of love to choose from. It was the wonderful variety of beloved authors and artists who wrote in different time periods and different languages that made them special. And then I learned to love to read Westerns. I would read some of the books my father had collected a long time ago. He loved Zane Grey, so I began by reading all of the westerns that Grey wrote. Lover of Romance & Sci-Fi!   I have also been a lover of romance. Historical Romance was a favorite,and I loved the series about Alinor, who was based on the real life Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Roberta Gellis wrote these very intricate and detailed descriptions of the medieval era; and they swept you into a world apart. And then there was Jane Austen and all the romantic writers who have been so successful in the twentieth century. But someone like Georgette Heyer was the forerunner of all of the modern historical writers who made a living writing romance. Heyer is someone I would love to see adapted to the screen in the same way that Jane Austen has been. I love Jane,, but Austen has been done to death in recent decades and Heyer’s work deserves an outing… I digress, but then I could go on! Science fiction was a favorite category of my brother. I would borrow his collection of books  from  writers like Arthur C Clarke and Robert Heinlein. I remember how excited I was to read Venus on the Half Shell from the mysterious Kilgore Trout aka Kurt Vonnegut (Philip Jose Farmer really wrote that particular book)! Vonnegut is one of my favorite writers of all time, and he of course, transcends the sci-fi category. I can go on with all the different categories. The film books I’ve loved  are legion. Books on film noir and on great directors and films inspired me to write my own book-6 Degrees of Film. The biographies of famous and interesting people have always been a huge draw for me. I love to read about the lives of interesting and exceptional people.  Not just artists and famous actors like Humphrey Bogart or Rex Harrison and Montgomery Clift & WC Fields,  but books that are written about lesser-known stars and people who led and still lead wonderful lives! The Books you just can’t forget…   There are some books you run into by accident, but you just can’t forget.  There was this wonderful book, “Land of a Thousand Hills,” about a woman who lived in Africa many years before Apartheid ended.  But the story is about the exceptional life she lived after Apartheid.  She was a white woman who started an orphanage with a black man who had been her servant. The two very different people became business partners as well as close friends. For me, this book was even more gripping than the much-more well-known story told in “Out of Africa.” I may wander from the topic at times- but the main point is this. There are so many different directions that our interests can lead us when we love books. Reading is something we can do on a tablet, or in bed, or on a break, or almost anytime. It is a universal language of love. We cannot ban books. Some may say that not all books will be banned! You don’t have to exaggerate the problem. But the problem is this. My truths are not the truths of other young people. They are not the truths of someone who is suffering from a malady or a feeling that I cannot identify with or relate to. And if someone is answering that need by writing a book that speaks to them, who am I to deny that truth to another? There is some material that is not age-appropriate. I think librarians and parents and educators can cope with that. And I daresay, if something is banned or forbidden, then there will be intrepid young or old individuals who will find a way to read or furnish or sell this material! So it will not always be verboten. But the idea of banning books is one that should not be acceptable to anyone living in the modern age. We

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6 Degrees Vignettes: At Christmas, the proof of what is not seen…

Now Faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen’ Hebrews 11:1 At this Christmas season, we spend much time rereading our favorite passages that reveal the story of Christmas as we celebrate Christ’s birth and his rebirth each year into our lives. The Reality of what we hope for…   This passage from Hebrews is a reflection on what one of the major components of our faith reveals. We live in a world where hope is sometimes a commodity that is not often used or expressed. And without concrete evidence as proof, we are lost when we look at logical problems that are solved in a court of law or in business. We cannot simply ‘hope for a better outcome’ when a hard-nosed and cold reality demands we must have evidence we can see and touch. But in our own lives, we use faith to guide us for the proof of ‘what is not seen.’ We cannot see love that is expressed for us by children or by our loved ones. We know that it is there, and the reality for us is those things we hope to receive in return. The love that is hoped for, the care and the guidance we need each day is something that is not seen but felt. Hope in the Night Sky   And at the Christmas season, we search for hope in the night sky. Looking at the Christmas star gives us hope for things we feel but we cannot see. We hope for a better life for everyone, and we hope for guidance in our own lives. The proof is what we feel in our hearts. And it is what we celebrate when we hear the stories of everyday miracles from those who are Good Samaritans. It is the reality we hope for and what we are searching for in our Faith. Reading the Christmas Story is another affirmation of our faith that we need to retell and to revere each time we hear it. The story tells us of the world and things unchanging. It tells us of the miracle of birth,  and the kindness and at times the cruelty of humans who hold power. It reveals the mystery of nature and the heavens.  And finally, it brings us the gift of hope.  It is that hope and promise that we feel and carry in our hearts each year when we see the Christ Child and think of his mission of love and hope and Peace on Earth. God is our Guide to paths unknown in Life- From Life Coach/ Christ Coach  

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Vignettes for June: Will the real Jesus Christ please stand up?

Letting Go vs Let it Be I am grateful that I do have the time and grace and mind and heart and soul and body to know that there are flaws in the engine. Things are going to break down, and it’s not going to be what we want it to be. Things are not always going to be as they were. And we cannot have all that we want. And I am grateful that I am a huge fan of “The Beatles”. They broke up long ago, and people would yearn for them to return to the way they were. For decades, they would pine for them to come back and bring us the joy we found in their music. But I believe they told us all along how it should be. They sang “Let it Be.” And we find that letting go is hard to do. But to “Let it Be” is an even harder task. “Let it Be” is just another way of saying Let me Be. Let it go and let it be are two distinctly different things. And both are some of the hardest things we can do. By letting go, we acknowledge the past and faults and our own broken souls  and dreams that have been battered and yet survived. By letting things be, we know the future will unfold as the universe has intended in some mysterious way. And we must let it be as God intended, and as the plot should unfold. We, as writers, sometimes imagine there are multiple universes hidden inside the shell of our brain. I may invent plots that play out as dreamscapes but I know I will never realize most of them on a conscious level. Yet still they unfold and are elusive and I have to let it be. And I have to tell myself that not all things are meant to be. And not all unrealized dreams are failures. When Failure IS an option! Failure is not an option is one of the mantras I hear a lot. Sometimes failure IS an option. But you don’t give up, you try again! That is the lesson learned. When Failure isn’t an option, but giving up is! The important thing is to try. Try new things and do new things till there is no more left to do and you have exhausted all your ‘what if’s’ and “If’s, And’s, or But’s.’ You may then conclude there is nothing left to do. From sheer exhaustion, sometimes we just give up. When failure is an option, we can give up. We allow ourselves to let go and let it be. Sometimes there is failure and we still can’t give up. It’s not always that easy…It’s helpful when giving up is an option! Not just fear of failure but…  One of the greatest moments in Apollo & NASA space history was getting those men back to Earth after a massive failure of equipment during their space flight. “Failure is not an option” was their tag line. And they didn’t fail in their mission to get the guys home; but Failure is ALWAYS an option on the table. Human failure is that which we don’t know. Will the real Jesus Christ please stand up? There are so many interpretations and guises that we see cloaked in the moniker of ‘Christianity.”  I suppose we could set up a game show much like the one we had in the fifties called, “What’s My Line?”  Three different men in costumes would sit on a panel and they would present different texts and guises where -in the name of Christianity-they could say they represent all that is pure and is right and is noble in this world. Some of them are dedicated to the cause of making money. Others are true believers who would just love to believe in something! We are all seeking the truth and the light that we see when we look at the core of the Christian message coming from the real Christ. It was a simple message-Love one another. Do right by others….I have often just called it: “The Zen Christ.” It’s the Living Christ, the one we need to pull into the 21st Century. Still just musing about what Christianity means and does NOT mean to so many disenchanted people, we begin to realize how his message is misinterpreted by so many. It is a messaging problem for the 21st Century that even supersedes our current disinformation problems in American Democracy. I have long concluded that this messaging problem is ripe for those who are fanciful (such as writers and those with creative imaginations.)  We can just imagine a religion that is full of visions and stuffed with wonders. And if you looked long enough to see all that is found in the Bible, it’s easy to see how many could misinterpret the basis for the religion. And it is even better to remind all that it can be boiled down to the simplest of phrases- Love One Another. It’s a simple line-Love One Another. Simple enough to put on a T-Shirt or a baseball cap or slap on a bumper sticker. That is the way we are in modern times…we market our religion. And simple messaging is key. One of my favorite lines from the musical, “Jesus Christ Superstar” is the question that Judas asks: “Why’d you pick such a backward time and such a strange land? If you’d come today, you could have reached a whole nation-Israel in 4 BC had no Mass Communication!” The fact of the real Jesus Christ boils down to this: Someone dies and sacrifices himself for others. That is a very human condition.  It is a sad fact of the fate of Man…but it’s a very human thing. We can all understand it. But speaking as a writer of fiction, if there was a story or fable written…and it was distributed  throughout the cosmos, then humans would always suffer the same

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6 Degree Vignettes for May

It’s hard to be positive some days. When there is overwhelm, with lots of stuff to do, it is easy to get behind schedule. You may perhaps have health problems or financial worries, and looming debt or threat of impending doom may be enough to just paralyze you. And then the walls begin to close in around you.   Well, it’s times like this we think of those poor devils who really have it hard! The ones who are living through wartime conditions in Ukraine now, or the people who lived during the Great Depression. And if we really want to go way back in the “Wayback Machine,” we can just imagine what those folks were doing when tasked to build the pyramid at Giza!   Ways to stay Cheerful while building the Pyramid at Giza   It’s hard to stay cheerful all the time. You can think of “High Hopes” or “You Gotta have Heart” and sing like the birdies sing for a while with old musical medleys. And then people go out and just shoot themselves.   That’s not the way to do things, but you can almost understand when people get to the end of their ropes. And it’s then I am reminded of the Egyptians who had to build the Great Pyramid and had about 20 years to do it. I think of the great quote from Eddie Cantor: “It takes 20 years to become an overnight success!”   And now we know so much more about these guys. You can think of truckers and people who complain about tight deadlines. Those shipments must be delivered by a certain date in order to meet their quota. Imagine what the guys at Giza had to do to get a huge piece of rock moved from the quarry to the building site!  And that includes sailing it down the Nile on a barge!   Working the night shift   To paraphrase the great Bob Dylan, you have to: “Please her/please him…20 years of schoolin’ and they put you on the Day Shift!”  And those who try to be a success will have to try to suck up in order to be a “Suck-cess!”  It’s never a fair fight when we are always having to contend with “Corporate.” Be they modern-day CEO’s or the Pharaohs of yore…It always comes down to deadlines and having to move the merchandise. Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well. (He was the one who was stuck on the night shift at Giza!) The Stuff that Dreams are made of…   We have been raised to believe that if you have True Grit or The Right Stuff, you have it made. Whatever you want to call it, Bogey was right… It’s the stuff that dreams are made of. And it’s also the foundation upon which we exist.  The cornerstone of the American Dream is the belief that we all have a chance for success.   Moral Fortitude and small bits of beefed-up “Magical thinking” is what lies inside most Americans who believe in the American Dream. That is the belief that we can make it if we try hard enough.  Or if we believe in ourselves then our dreams are enough to keep us plugging away.   We all love a good challenge. But only when we think that there is a chance that we can succeed as much as the next guy. My Dad hated women to be called ‘guy’. But in many ways that can be considered a good thing these days.   Because it’s a generic term that can mean almost anything if you want to be seen as just ‘one of the guys.’ That comes in handy for most women. Especially in the workplaces of old. Those were the times when women may have been asked to turn around and walk for the boss and then wear short skirts! (Or not-depending on the shape of her legs.) American Delusions   America is and always has been this mythical, magical dream of high purpose and ideals. And the illusions are mostly delusions as we see the reality of the bubble burst. There are people who Do live in bubbles.  They are the ones isolated in their own grand delusions of themselves; with the belief that money can buy them a ticket to heaven or wherever they think they are going.   So that is one way to look at it. Keeping busy always signals to us that there is something that has been missing and we can “Fix It!” We can fix the broken parts by speeding up the narrative and just powering through.   Letting Go vs Let it Be   Have you ever experienced a dream so wonderful…and then you just couldn’t really remember anything about it the next day?!…   I am grateful that I do have the time and grace, the mind and heart and soul, and the body to know that there are flaws in the engine. Things are going to break down, and it’s not going to be what we want it to be. And there are times we just have to let it be. But “Let it Be” is often just another way of saying Let Me Be. Let it go and let it be are two different things.   By Letting Go, we acknowledge the past and all the faults that lie within us.  And that includes our own broken souls that may have been battered and yet have survived. By letting things be, we know the future will unfold as the universe has intended in mysterious ways. And we must let it be as God intended.  Because that is how the plot unfolds.   As writers, we are always hoping there may be multiple universes hidden inside the shell of our brain. (You may remember from last month…that’s the “Pale Fawn Fluff” that exists on top of my head!) And at some point, there may be an opportunity to bring those

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Vignettes: The Pale Fawn Fluff Plan & The Serenity Prayer for the not-so-Serene!

Part of the reason that I work on the vignettes and a “Day in the Life” series has to do with Connections. On the 6 Degrees website, I talk of the need for connections with those who love to read and who are perhaps like-minded in their thinking. They could be those who love movies as I do. Or those who love animals, and especially dogs, as much as me. But part of the connections has to do with the isolation that we all have devised for our lives. And part of it is about ways to connect the dots of the two.  We hear often of the fact that you need to be an expert and an “Influencer” to get ahead in this online world. It’s funny about the word “Influencers.”  And how someone can influence when they don’t seem to be able to connect the dots and influence even their own choices? It is a mystery wrapped in a quandary surrounded by a riddle within a foggy maze. That is the only path leading to some of the dusty and neglected areas of fawn fluff that passes for my brain these days. The Pale Fawn Fluff Plan Hence, My Plan Emerges from the ash heap of fog in a brain. The Pale Fawn Fluff plan is hereby concocted to read: First, you get a million dollars. Then, you hire someone to put together a plan. The phrase “Pale Fawn Fluff” was a great one my former boss would use to describe our brain matter when forgetfulness ruled the day. It’s from Winnie the Pooh, I believe. And it’s just a part of our life of trivial pursuit that comes back to haunt us at times. We Lonely Humans No matter how many connections we make, we can still be considered a very isolated race of people in the computer age we live in. That is part of the reasoning behind “My Grandmother’s Shakespeare. ’ It was a short book I wrote with different vignettes, much like the ones I’ve highlighted on the vignettes blog. One of the last sections is about channeling Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. She is one of my writing mentors.  It’s called “We Lonely Humans. ” Here’s an excerpt: “We lonely humans need very little of devotion for contentment”-Marjorie K Rawlings “We Lonely Humans” says it all. We are a lonely race of people. Dogs and cats thrive as social animals, but we all seem so lonely for so many parts of our lives. We start by leaving our homes and raising families, and then by divorcing or moving far away from friends and kin and the life that we once knew. No wonder we feel so all alone. We enforce these little life bubbles around us at all times, and no one can penetrate them. It’s a sad state of affairs and a lonely race of people that we raise”…. How would you like to swing on a star?   Remember that old song: “How would you like to swing on a star?”…It was telling the story of what it would be like if wishes were concrete agenda items and somehow we could make all of our dreams come true. Then there is the caveat: Be careful what you wish for! The Midas Touch showed us that turning all things to gold might be life-threatening…But that is really the American Dream Mantra.  It trips us up every time. To wish upon a star means we can explore strange new worlds and boldly go where no man has gone before….and then we move on. And if our dreams really do come true, they may not be what you really want or need. I’m suddenly thinking of Elon Musk. And Icarus, the young man who wished to harness the energy to fly into the sun! And we saw that he came crashing down. I am also reminded of the old Gilded Age regulars like Henry Ford and Rockefeller. And the modern-day versions of Bill Gates and Elon Musk. They are unusual stories of remarkable men. But it still pays to be careful before you are burnt to death when you try to touch the sun…Best be wishing upon a star.  Then perhaps staying in your own lane is safer? But those who did try to touch the sun left a legacy behind that endured. Let us hope we find men of vision who are not simply swallowed in the lure and legacy of a dream.  And let’s fervently hope they won’t end up burning and consuming themselves or simply turning into inanimate and isolated statues made of gilt instead of gold. The Serenity Prayer for the not so Serene…  I am bad at throwing things away because in the future, I’ve always had need of things that I did regret throwing away. It’s the Serenity Prayer for mechanical earth: Lord. grant me the wisdom to keep those things which I need, throw away only those things that are no longer necessary, and above all-have a CLUE of what the difference is!!!  Not just fear of failure but… That is the only way we can make it through the darkest days. With a lifted boat full of the most hopeful of ideas that could possibly support the need to keep afloat without sinking in a morass of despair and false hope. The idea I had some time ago was to re-do the Serenity Prayer. Yes, of course we need the courage to be able to act and the wisdom to know the difference. We need to be able to act, and to have hope and courage as well as a well-defined knowledge of the dangers that instill a fear of failure in us. “Failure is not an option” is not the bottom line. Failure is not the end. Failing to act for fear of failure is the worst thing we can do.   Writers who want to invade your Serenity Prayer!   It’s true that writers do

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