Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The One About Love and Stuff

Here it comes, the blog ya’ll predicted would eventually come. The blog who’s anticipation made you slightly uneasy, maybe even a little queasy.  This is

 “The One About Love and Stuff.”

Where to begin? I’ve been mulling this idea over in my mind for a while and I think that to get us all on the same page I’ll start with a story.

Once Upon a Time, there was a princess in a kingdom far far away. Well- loved and well cared for, the princess wanted for little. She was satisfied, happy, but she had one very persistent problem. She couldn’t sleep.
            Not a wink.
            The princess tried everything! But nothing could be done, sleep would not come. Her father the King was desperate to find a way to provide his beloved daughter with relief. He searched far and wide. At his command the most educated scholars in the kingdom researched and fathomed endlessly for a solution. Valiant and cunning explorers, Knights, warriors, and loyal servants of the crown ventured into dark and unknown paths seeking the secret to the princesses sleep. All were unsuccessful.
            The king appealed to his people with a proclamation, a plea; the man who can grant my dear daughter one full night of restful slumber will be given my daughter, the princess, in marriage. For one night of real sleep that man will receive all of her succeeding nights and days as well.
          Soon men began to arrive at the palace with hopeful hearts. Some came with magical words, weaving blankets of drowsy peaceful poetry over the princess’s exhausted body as she lay in piles of manifested clouds infused with warm sunshine.  
                Men with stringed and scrolled instruments strummed and plucked and serenaded with wide, long, mournful voices. Others with reeds and nimble fingers blew notes of drifting fantasy through puffed cheeks up into the night air above the princess’s bed.
                They brought tears with their beauty, but no sleep.
                Weeks passed and hope waned.
One night as the sun fell below the hills a young man arrived at the kitchen door of the castle. The cooks received him and cared for him, filthy and worn with dust covering his body from the furthest roads of the kingdom. A shepherd tending his flocks in the far hills, the young man had begun his journey as soon as news of the princess’s plight had reached him. Pushing away the hands of the servants offering supper and a bed for the night he said, “Please, just take her this pillow. She must be so tired. I know she’ll sleep, just take her this pillow.”
“You’ve come such a long way.” Said one of the princess’s ladies in waiting.
“I hate to disappoint you, but we’ve tried pillows. Pillows from the feathers of a golden goose, pillows of sea-foam from the splashes of mermaid tails, pillows made from the floating seeds of dandelions blown with a wish. Your pillow of sheep’s wool will not bring my lady rest.”

“My pillow will bring rest to your lady; it will bring her sweet dreams of love. In her sleep she will see the face of her true love and peace will fill her heart. She will sleep.”

The maid blushed and took the pillow.
“I will take it to her.” She said.

The Princess received the pillow and the story of the young man who had journeyed far to deliver it. So tired, she placed the pillow of her last hope on her bed alone.  Wrapping a blanket close around her she crawled into bed. Leaning back slowly she let her heavy head rest against the earthy fresh smelling pillow. She closed her eyes and breathed in a deep slow breath. Exhaling, her mind opened up into a beautiful dream.
A command from the king required silence from the entire castle and all waited with baited breath in quiet stillness as the princess. . . slept.
All through the night and into the next day they tiptoed on slippered feet about the castle, the only perceptible sound the even breathing of the slumbering lady. Another night passed in peace and with the sun the princess lifted her head from her pillow.
The shepherd, the dream walker, the hero, was summoned. The princess saw with her waking eyes the man of her dreams. As promised the two were married.

A small stone cottage was erected in the far hills of the kingdom with a bed and a blanket and a pillow. As the prince had tended his sheep with love he tenderly cared for his wife. She slept very well.

That's How I feel about love. My life is wonderful, but I have trouble sleeping.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Nature of My Neurosis

Welcome to August! Now that the summer is winding down mine has finally begun! My exciting plans; read as much of next semesters course work as possible before it begins! I know, that is a terrible plan. So, to off-set the epic lameness, a break to tell a story.
           To preface this story I must reveal a truth about myself, a neurosis that I have fostered for many years. If you have spent more than ten minutes with me you have probably seen me pull out my calendar. I keep it with me always, it remembers everything!  As a writer I am always in need of a handy place to keep some notes, they all spill out onto the pages of this abused and beloved calendar. It contains the endless list of books I need to read, quotes collected, recipes, addresses, directions, notes from sunday school classes, literature classes, presidency meetings, sacrament meetings, Dr. Who.
           I record my goals, lists for the grocery store, where I went today, where I'll go tomorrow, the hours I worked, the miles I've driven, how many times I've been to Costa Vida this month. I write it all down in this record of Elizabeth. I save them when they are filled on the same shelf as my journals. What was I doing on January 21st of 2010, you can find it in last years calendar.
           I took Stinker to "the LaundryMutt," worked from 6:45 to close at the Hastings, and noted that a new episode of "The Mentalist" would be on that night. I worked 25 hours that week and turned in my Avon order by the following Monday. 
Crazy right?
Maybe not. . .  
           My great Grandma on my Mamma's side was called Olive. I met her a handful of times before she passed away but I was pretty young, I don't remember much. Several months ago, maybe a year and more by now, Mom and I took a jaunt down to SLC with Grandma Lois to visit "the Aunties," my Grandma's sisters. Sitting in a room (walls lined with books, of course) with Olive's daughters, her granddaughter, and her memory, my Grandma passed me an old note book that had belonged to her Mother. It felt like buried treasure in my hands, it smelled like a thrift store. With worn edges and a surface polished smooth from the friction within the walls of a prepared lady's purse, I recognized what this note book must be.
          Tenderly I spread open the scribble filled pages. There it was, proof positive that I am not the random assemblance of inappropriate outbursts and DNA that I once believed myself to be. I come from somewhere, there are others like me! Or, rather, I am like them, like Olive, my great grandma. 
         In her calendar she had made a long list of all of the books she had read that year, how many times she had read them before, who had recommended them, what she would read next. She had taken notes from a stake conference meeting, written her shopping list, included notes about the women she was assigned to visit-teach. In a smaller notebook she had written a detailed account of a family road trip including miles driven each day, stops made, items purchased, and random comments from her husband about the general condition of the roads. Brilliant!
          Though it was a small silly connection I felt tied to that wonderful woman in a deep and intimate way. All my life I have wondered about, pencil in hand, recording the scenes unfolding around me, never knowing why. It is so sweet to me to know that, at least in part, it was simply within me. To write, to relate, to tell a story, that desire was passed down to me through blood and tiny proteins breaking and recombining infinitely, but remaining in tact just enough to encode a message that would cause a single desire to persist over generations. I wonder if she also shared my callus on her third finger. . .