pawspauseprose

Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen


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Give thanks or Thanks in giving…

 

giver-and-takeIt goes without saying, that everyone likes to be given something. Surprises however, I will leave on the fringe, since I hate them, as do most people I know…just don’t react well. That being said, gifts are still a nice way to confirm to someone that they matter, and it doesn’t matter if they are tangible or emotional, gifts are a necessity…like water in a weed patch.

There are however, two camps in this world, those that give and those that take, each having a few variations, no different from eye and hair color. Similar to physical attributes, we always will be who we are inside and no amount of wrapping paper or window dressing will ever change it. So ask yourself, which are you? I know that I am a Giver, and having been raised by Givers, it firmly solidified my direction in life…that of certain disappointment, and an intense happiness, having no earthly definition.

In recognizing Givers and Takers, we are quick to see certain deviations to their definitions. For Givers, there is total satisfaction in just providing joy, because they know a person so well, and can offer the unexpected. Then, there is having to do something out of guilt, because it is expected, and lastly, hoping to be loved and wanted as much as the recipient. These subcategories are gray, and often overlap. However, true intent always remains loud, clear, and in the forefront. Givers also tend to have less, and ask for little in return, having no problem being last in line.

Takers are another story, and although broken down much the same, there is a darker theme. They take because they feel it is due them, owing nothing in return, or because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, accepting whatever is offered without emotion. It can also be just a basic exchange of the moment, give to take, a time shamed ritual, where everyone feels good for a while. Takers also seem to have lower self-esteem, failing to understand any happiness or compassion behind the process. More often than not, they’re well connected and/or wealthy, abundantly able to offer to others, but fail, instead, only worrying how they will survive without all they have, and how lucky they are to always get things.

Ironically, we don’t come into this world as a Taker. After all, children are born filled with love and giving, it is  not until they are challenged, a new perspective develops. Any adult or dog, can readily attest, if a child is asked for a bite of their cookie, they give up the whole thing…with a smile. Offering all they have, except maybe Mr. Blanket, because children are anxious for a positive reaction, and love, no different from the expression in giving itself. In addition, as they mature, children also discover what special buttons to push, further bonding them to those they care about.

I know I am not alone, when I comment on many drawings and objects de knick knack I’ve received from tiny hands, because they knew what would make me smile. In return, I gave tears, laughter, acceptance and satisfaction, and completed the circle, anxious to do the same for them. In life, that is also the only quid pro quo that should ever matter, because it is far more than legally binding.

However, somewhere down the line, life changes us, and only true Givers ever survive. The others left standing become Takers, unable to fully respond in kind, needing attention and gifts as reassurance of their own value, while falsely seeing their intended place in a family, friendship, business or organization. When I see these Takers, I think of the Emperor’s new clothes. Nobody would tell the selfish man who wanted it all that he was actually naked…because they feared being out of his good graces, a different fact of human nature, which no Giver understands.

Every day in the media, we are bombarded with political and religious figures, celebrities and athletes, all showing what they have acquired or become, demanding to be noticed for who they are. These Takers are applauded, and given even more, by those hoping to receive attention in return…all of them missing the mark on giving, just taking what they can, and wanting, and wanting and wanting.

Like many, I have saved things over the years, those items that made me feel loved, and even more intangible ones reside in my heart. Nevertheless,  the pick it up and feel it variety still clutter my life, and collect dust…like me, as time and memories pass. It makes me wonder what will be said after I die, when people look at what was saved. Obviously, nobody will understand the green Tupperware glass with a melt mark on the rim, the tarnished Cracker Jack ring, complete with rhinestone diamond in the center, or the aged dog collar with long expired tags. I also doubt that anyone will feel  love from a vintage butter cookie tin, or tears over faded scraps of material and rick rack in a vintage button box.

Regardless of my odd legacy, those items gave back to me, teaching that the greatest gift of all, is knowing someone’s soul, and unselfishly making their heart smile – as often as possible. Maybe that’s why I have more pictures than albums, or space on a flash drive, so I could look back at photographed reactions, which delightfully I was responsible for, knowing they forever meant more than anything someone might purchase, wrap or mail.

Religion aside, whether you believe a story about dirty and odd gifts from a small angel, that later became a nativity star or not, you can’t dispute a child, offering a wilted dandelion, favorite toy, or drawing that is colored in a shade or design they know you love. You see, Giving is the purest form of love, and it never asks for anything back, only tarnished human nature does that. So look at objects in your life, those connecting to the core of who you are as a person. Hopefully, the first thought won’t be why the hell did I save that! But instead, where it came from, and who gave it to you. The second thought with any luck will be…yes, I still have the stuff, but I wish I had the Giver instead…and that my friend is a reaction everyone should take away.


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Milton was a Monster ~ and Paradise is Getting Lost

milton blog

Years ago, cartoons could be dark and funny, and Milton the Monster was just that, in the era of The Addams Family and The Munsters. Looking at life through a slightly cobwebbed glass is probably what made me the person I am, and the writer I became. There is something reassuring about living in suburbia knowing it is okay to wonder about a twin size coffin with matching sheets.

Unfortunately, such humorous darkness is far from the real darkness, which shadows my writing career. I also know, that I am not alone in this world of publishing and social media and the perils are ones Pauline would’ve avoided. Yes, the days of mailed in submissions with stands of hair between a page, to tell if they had been read, when the rejection notice arrived are gone. However, writing along with ability, was and still is a business of who you are, or who you know, along with a dash of luck, and a moment of opportunity. Frankly, anyone who chooses this torture is either a true writer or a masochist, who enjoys pain with number two lead.

Vanity Press as it once was is now E-Publishing, and everyone and his or her grandmother can be an author in a few days with less than $25. That being the case, those of us of that live, breath and cry over plots and characters, nurturing a manuscript to life are often lost in the shuffle between these What I did on My Summer Vacation memoirs. It is indeed a twisted desire; to bring a character to life, filling them with your dreams, fears and ego, only to send them into the world to be ignored. Again, we have returned to the picking of sides for basketball in 1968, and we all know how that felt.

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and all of their twice removed, third cousins play a role in this popularity contest, and despite reviews one prays to see, sometimes the book never is, all because you aren’t playing full court with the right press or team. Becoming a bestselling author anymore can be as easy as having a lukewarm plot and have a Kardashian hold up the book, or have it shown in a shopping bag. Suddenly 51.9 million people want to read it. So much for the satisfaction of knowing the story is good – you just need placement…like an apple in the Garden of Eden.

I remember someone telling me the weight of popularity made her crazy. She went so far as to go to school wearing only one long earring. The following day, all her friends arrived with only one earring. She laughed, they beamed and I want to puke. This behavior is the lemming flavored stupidity we live. If it is on social media or television it is a winner and everyone needs to celebrate it. Lost behind are the true gems, never uncovered because they wanted to shine on their own, and not through an endorsement.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if for one day, everyone with a social media base looked at reality and those around them and made a difference? What is the value of all the likes and followers, other than an ego boost if they just sit? Look at those who are contributing to the world, writing great things, designing and bringing to life new possibilities, and offer them a hand with maybe a comment, simple nod or emoji smile :). In turn, as I was raised, they will do the same for the next person, and before you know it, there will be a better diversity of things to choose from! Books otherwise shelved can deliver a message, instructors can offer a new way to feel and express emotion, cooks might have a breakthrough that isn’t featured at Starbucks, and children will know they really can accomplish anything.

I stopped wearing earrings years ago when I left work, staying home to care for my family members. Once in a while, I put them on and sparkle, remembering and changing my appearance. However, I do always wear two, because just like everything else in life, they go better together, and I can always share…if someone else needs to sparkle.

 

pr cover

 

Misfits & freaks of society relegated to the streets find family in Stiletto
learning it isn’t blood or the box we came out of making a family.

Amazon – Lori Kay


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Pink and Blue or Gender To You

loveisblue

Music has always played a role in my life, and once upon my hippie journey, Chicago even colored my world. There wasn’t a time my trusty Panasonic yellow cassette recorder, or uniquely shaped, turquoise AM/FM radio wasn’t by my side. There was also a cool 8-track player in my room, one that had removable speakers, and of course the Wildcat hi-fi, which turned 45’s, allowing Steely Dan to reel in the years and Sinatra to visit New York, from a thick 78, that had once been my father’s. The diversity of my musical tastes was and still is, every bit as overloaded as the buffet restaurants where I love to eat. However, in the 60’s and 70’s, life just seemed to have spun better.

When I entered Junior High, my buffet of acquaintances also changed. Students from all around the city now met at one school, far different from the neighborhood clique of our elementary days. We shared everything from arts to dreams…some shared smokes or worse, and others having discovered puberty, shared their tongues. Life had become a festival of discovery, and around that same year, I discovered love was blue.

Elevator music was also very real in those days, and that meant instrumental, dreamy and corny renditions of any song you could imagine, was offered by anyone from Lawrence Welk to Ray Conniff (Google if you must.) One such song, “L’amour est bleu” (“Love Is Blue“) was composed by André Popp, lyrics by Pierre Cour, in 1967. The glory of this syrup-sweet song, were the alternating verses in French, which made me feel like I was more than a bespeckled fourteen year-old girl, a few miles North of Denver, Colorado. I must have listened to it every day, practicing those delicate words, as if they were pink cotton candy, and I refused to let them melt in my mouth. Then I sat next to a new boy in class, and saw his French book.

Jay, was one of those new appetizers on my learning buffet. He had come from a school several miles away, and was a gentle giant. Standing next to me we could have made another person, between my height and his bulk.  Looking through our respective thick glasses, we also saw life in a special way. Our friendship continued, probably due to the fact that we were nerdy outcasts, happily meeting in our Assistant Period, where we delivered movie and film strip projectors from the Audio Visual department. It was then, that I also learned his dream was to build a Harpsichord, and thinking lovingly of Lurch in the Addams Family, it was a perfect fit for Jay’s eclectic aura and size, along with his incredible talent to draw anything.  All that aside, he was still learning French!

One day I mentioned my love of the song, and my inability to accurately pronounce the words. You see, I had taken the verbal street of Spanish, and although el amor es azul may have sounded exotic, it was romance I wanted…and shit, I still do…but I digress. I remember now, how Jay laughed at my request…I’m sure it sounded like some crazy chick thing, which young men don’t get until it is too late. Nevertheless, the following day when I went into class, Jay asked me go with him to the music room. Never before had a room been more appropriately named…not for the instruments it housed, but for the chalkboard it contained…one displaying the phonically written lyrics to Love is Blue.

If that had happened today, like anyone else, I would whip-out my always present cell phone, and take a photo of Jay’s painstakingly perfect work, to save and print later. However, back then, it was a number two pencil and spiral notebook, and I wrote those words as if they were a letter to God. After I finished, Jay sang the song for me in his own oddly feminine voice, pronouncing each word, making sure I had understood his odd, but literal breakdown of sound and syllable. In that moment, I felt beautiful, and prayed to someday get to Paris.  I also loved my friend and his unexpected gesture, one that had gone straight to my heart.

As years passed, we drifted into different classes and circles, and then to High School, where the process of re-assimilation started all over again. That was about the time I lost track of Jay, and traveled to Spain as an exchange student. It was there, in 1977 as I stood in a loud outdated discotheque, that a burly Spaniard, flirtatiously whispered the words to “Michelle” by the Beatles in my ear. Caught off guard, I realized he only spoke Spanish and had apparently taken great pains to memorize the French lyrics of:

Michelle, ma belle
Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
Tres bien ensemble

An ocean and several years apart, suddenly I was with Jay, the sweet boy who had cared enough for his friend to grant an odd adolescent wish. The rest of my trip I didn’t feel as alone, because I knew I had an overweight, somewhat unpopular guardian angel watching over me.

It wasn’t until my five year class reunion, that I learned a very sad, albeit sobering fact. My dear friend Jay, who had colored the lyrical linguistics of my life, and shaded beautiful drawings on my notebooks, had died. I suppose it could have just been one of those marks on the path of maturity we have to make, loosing friends along the way and growing from what we shared.  However, Jay’s untimely passing before we turned twenty-five, before an unseen health crisis of life changing proportions was different…Jay had been gay…and Jay had died from AIDS.

Talking to a mutual friend at the reunion, I learned the horror that had befallen the gentle boy I once loved as a kindred spirit, while we survived the caste system of education. The tears I cried that night, were as fresh and real, as if I had been at his wake. The world lost a remarkable soul, and then, no one knew why…worse yet, they didn’t know all he could have been.

Love is Blue was one of the first MP3 files I burned to a CD, and later transferred into a playlist. I still get emotional listening to the pink cotton candy words, all of which I can still pronounce.  But now, their love is a little more blue, as I also remember a dog eared French book, a blackboard and a heart that knew compassion. It may be decades later, but yes, even then Love Wins.

Thank you Jay for being my champion of life, long before I knew I needed one, and for confirming humanity and compassion for another person is the only way to live, words I will keep in my heart until I die.