Saturday, April 7, 2007

F.Y.I. ~ Early Morning Thoughts

There will be no post tonight (4.6) I will be back in full force tomorrow night (4.7).

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Early to Late ~ Late Night Thoughts

Due to some changes the occurred today ~ there will be no Early Morning Thoughts tonight, being replaced by Late Night Thoughts - tonight only.

Everyone Needs Someone

People need people and friends need friends,
And we all need love for a full life depends
Not on vast riches or great acclaim,
Not on success or on worldly fame,
But just in knowing that someone cares
And holds us close in their thoughts and prayers...
For only the knowledge that we're understood
Makes everyday living feel wonderfully good,
And we rob ourselves of life's greatest need
When we "lock up our hearts" and fail to heed
The outstretching hand reaching to find
A kindred spirit whose heart and mind
Are lonely and longing to somehow share
Our joys and sorrows to make us aware
That life's completeness and richness depends
On the things we share with our loved ones and friends.
--By Helen Steiner Rice


Friendship needs no studied phrases,
Polished face, or winning wiles;
Friendship deals no lavish praises,
Friendship dons no surface smiles.

Friendship follows Nature’s diction,
Shuns the blandishments of Art,
Boldly severs truth from fiction,
Speaks the language of the heart.

Friendship favors no condition,
Scorns a narrow-minded creed,
Lovingly fulfills its mission,
Be it word or be it deed.

Friendship cheers the faint and weary,
Makes the timid spirit brave,
Warns the erring, lights the dreary,
Smoothes the passage to the grave.

Friendship--pure, unselfish friendship,
All through life’s allotted span,
Nurtures, strengthens, widens, lengthens,
Man’s relationship with man.

I will stand where I have not stood before.
I will live in a way I have not lived before.

The way may not be always clear,
direct or
completely visible -

However -
I will stand where I have not stood before.
I will live in a way I have not lived before.

Maturity, A Dish Best Served...(1) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

A dear friend and I had an interesting email discussion today. Along the way the topic of maturity reared it's hydra-type head - and glared at me. I remembered a story that would be a good way to begin.


And to drink, sir?”

“I think I’ll wait and see what goes with Maturity.”

“Very good, sir.”

When the waiter arrived with Greg’s plate, it was thick around the middle, and had gone brittle and gray around the edges. Greg stared at the nutritious but slightly dull servings until the waiter shifted his weight uneasily. At last Greg spoke. “It looks a bit dry.”

“Perhaps some Enlightenment?” the waiter offered.

“Too strong for this early in the evening,” Greg said. And too pricey any time. “How about a fifth of Pride?”

“Good choice, sir,” the waiter said. Greg stared after the man’s retreating back. Good choice, sir. Christ, he’d have nodded approvingly if I’d ordered a split of Androgyny, or a double shot of Psychosis. Very good, sir.

“Your Pride, sir.”

Greg jumped when the bottle’s stylish label appeared in front of his face. Pride, from 1962. Blushing, Greg nodded his approval. A burgundy cascade leapt into his goblet.

Greg sniffed, relishing the heady aroma of vintage Pride. Truth be told, even Pride was a bit much for his budget. He sipped, then spat backwash that almost sloshed over the rim.

“Hey, waiter!” What was the guy’s name anyway?


“What is this?”

“Pride, sir.”

“Then why does it taste like Bourgeois Self-Indulgence?”

“Is there perhaps a trace of Bitterness?”

“A trace!” Greg’s mouth worked in unpleasant memory. “I can’t drink this.”

“Not everyone has the palate for Pride, sir. May I offer you a bottle of Oblivion to whet your Maturity? Or have the bartender blend you some Nostalgia?”

Greg stared at his desiccated Maturity. Soon it would be too dry to eat. He sighed. “Just bring me a schooner of Wishful Thinking.”

“Very good, sir.”

---Greg Beatty

Greg Beatty's stories have been published in a number of anthologies. This was published in Cafe Irreal - February 2003 (Issue 9)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

But The Map Says ~ Afternoon Laughter

There have been several stories recently about people who take their GPS directions ahead of common sense. The latest I read was about someone who drove into a canal, simply because the direction finder said "turn left, now." However, I have always believed that Google maps are accurate.

It appears they are a little too accurate. Someone was wondering what would happen if you planned a trip from Chicago to London.

Part of the resulting itinerary shows that Google not only has a sense of humor but is either very interested in physical fitness, or only wants Olympic swimmers to use their directions.

To prove to all the doubters that this is real ... Here is the link to the actual itinerary. (Just make sure to print the directions on waterproof paper!)

"I'm so happy to be with you." ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I have written about and thought about and prayed about two people that I have never even met - but they have impacted my life and I am sure the lives of many others. They have done this by being completely open and honest about what it going on in their lives. I'm speaking of Yen and Jesse of Two Lucky People.

Their love has been such an inspiration - regardless of your orientation. As I have said, it stands as a monument to the truth AND the power of love.

Yen wrote in February that: "When hope to rekindle memories starts to wane, when your lover is changing, deteriorating, it becomes a challenge to keep loving. Every day is a lesson in patient loving. Every day you relearn how to love again."

And it's that relearning to love again I mentioned before. There are three stages of Love. The first is the infatuation, the second is the romance. The third and most difficult is love - because that is a conscious choice. You can't go to a mall and find a store for it, or get it from an email. Love is a choice. Sometimes the three stages blend, and we can move between them almost instantaneously, but in the end - it is the conscious love of two people that seems to hold everything together.

As I have said before, they epitomize to me the power of the wedding vows that people seem to take so casually today. These very old words, that seem so old fashioned carry tremendous power - and truth.

I take thee ... to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish ...

To my mind, that should cover a true love relationship. And, each part requires choice - better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health - to love and cherish. This is from Yen's latest post:
This cancer continues to pick at our lives like a vulture.

At home, Jesse is in constant discomfort. He eats like a bird, yet vomits bagfuls every night. Walking down a block is impossible. Whether in the day, or at night, he drifts in and out of sleep, in a cycle of painkillers.

I wonder if there isn’t a moment that he wakes up, and for a few seconds, forgets that he is dying.

For the survivor, forgetting is a difficult conundrum. In wanting to capture every moment, what one recalls in searing detail only renders the loss more acute. Though love and pain make poor partners, each is inextricably twined with the other. Love gives pain comfort. The latter legitimizes the former.

How do we forget one without the other?

I cried hard today in the town car on the way back from the hospital. It did not last long, probably for less than a minute. The tears stopped as suddenly as they had come. It happened soon after we got into the car, when Jesse took my hand and said to me: “I am so happy to be with you.”

Hopefully, you will read the entire post for all that was said, but the wonder of their love shines as a beacon during this very dark time. It was during all this time I realized just how much of an illustration of the vows these two humble people are.

I spent much of the afternoon and evening grieving for them and with them. It started with the title of the post: Love to pain: Don’t forget me...

Jesse summed it up in one sentence: "I'm so happy to be with you."

Once again, (as I looked at what would be a lover's side of the bed covered with magazines) I want that kind of love. A conscious choice - that no matter what we would carry on...until it was time for the last part of the vows - till death do us part.

But I also want what is right...and for now, it's better for me to be alone for the right reasons - than with someone for the wrong reasons. I'm not sure I've mentioned this before - but someone in England wrote me one time that they were not looking for someone to go out with - they were looking for someone to come home to.

As I looked back over the vows, I realized that there is a part of them that means: in the long run - shouldn't we do that with everyone we care about? What a change that would make...personally.

As usual when I'm upset or grieving, I turn to poets who can say things much better than I can manage.

Full Consciousness

You are carrying me, full consciousness, god that has desires,
all through the world.
Here, in the third sea,
I almost hear your voice: your voice, the wind,
filling entirely all movements;
eternal colors and eternal lights,
sea colors and sea lights.

Your voice of white fire
in the universe of water, the ship, the sky,
marking out the roads with delight,
engraving for me with a blazing light my firm orbit:
a black body
with the glowing diamond in its center.
--Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958)


I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
And nothing
happens! Nothing...Silence...Waves...

--Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?
--Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958)

--exchanging vows miniature by David Gregory
--crashing waves 1 by Mark Henspeter

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

And In A Flash ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I discovered a type of writing called flash fiction. (if that's the wrong title, hopefully someone will let me know.) It requires some pretty impressive skills as you have to accomplish your story with the least amount of words possible. I have tried my hand at it, and it is very difficult to do. I have no idea where it started. In one of my classes in college we had to do stories using only one sheet of legal pad paper, but I don't think flash is related to that, as the amount of words authors use varies.

This is one of those cases where I was on my way to somewhere else (which can be dangerous) and ran across these two short tales, that I believe are flash fiction. They continued to stay with me the entire day, and I decided that I would share them.

Wrong Number

She stepped outside, equipped, if needed, with the lame pretense of retrieving something from the car. She walked leisurely, stopping to admire a flower, pull at an imaginary weed, rub the shaggy yellow head of her sweet mutt Roscoe, the more faithful male in her life.

Through the bedroom window she could see him, casually dialing the phone. He glanced once in her direction, or maybe not at all.

Good, she thought. Standing parallel with the dogwood tree is the perfect cover.

He hung up, looked down at the crinkled slip of paper in the palm of his hand and dialed again.

He's calling that—woman, she concluded, resigning herself to the familiar pain and fear usurping her stomach.

She saw his mouth moving as he shook his head and replaced the receiver onto its cradle. Looking again into his hand, he made a quick fist, then re-assigned it to his pocket.

They entered the kitchen at the same time. Grabbing a beer from the fridge, he sat at the table with a smile.

"Guess I'll stick around tonight, if that's okay. My brother wasn't home, must of forgot," he explained. He awkwardly fidgeted with something in his pocket, then laid his empty hand on hers.

Only then did she breathe again.

"Sure," she chirped, trying hard not to show her happiness, or uneasiness, or guilt.

"Want something to eat?" she busied herself in the pantry.

Deep breaths she told herself. You've won, don't be a wuss about it. Concentrate. Don't cry!

Standing straight, she blinked back the tears, swallowed the lump in her throat, lowered the neckline of her blouse.

He's mine tonight, she smiled as she fluffed her hair and reached for the ingredients of his favorite dinner, ashamed but grateful at what changing one digit could do.
---Elaine Drennon

Nero Caesar

He's an ugly little bugger. His chalky silhouette leaps from the red brick behind the mantle. Lyre in hand, he stares. Greg feels him, knows he's staring.

"You want some more wine?" Harry asks.

"I'm good," Greg says. "Why him?"

"Why who?" Harry answers, playing the twenty question game Greg offers.

"Nero," Greg says.

Greg thinks he's a pro. His style is smooth and unrehearsed. Harry likes to be daddy. Greg knows the schoolboy approach will boost the tip. He presses the glass to his lips, curls them in a slight smile and winks at Harry.

"Nero was my kind of fag," Harry says.

"Why is that?" Greg shifts to a more reclined position and takes off his shoes.

"He was openly queer and in charge of Rome," Harry says. "On his wedding night, he dressed as a woman and consummated his nuptials in public. He was brash, daring and everything I'm not." Harry runs his fingers through his gray hair and gives Greg a visual once over.

"How did his story end?" Greg tilts his head to expose more of his slender neck. He knows that it drives Harry wild. He looks again at the little statue, feeling a chill as he connects with the sightless eyes.

Harry has Greg over when his wife visits the grandchildren. It's the same every time. One night costs a thousand bucks, plus a tip. Greg is discreet, clean and looks like Harry's oldest boy.

"His own Praetorian Guard did him in," Harry says.

"Being queer has its drawbacks," Greg says. He pulls the tiny bag of cocaine out of his pocket, reaches in to draw out a small portion with a fingernail and takes a bump. He rubs the remainder over his teeth and gums. Harry frowns.

"He was killed because he was a lousy ruler," Harry says. "I wish you wouldn't do that here."

"It's performance enhancement," Greg replies. "Anyway, you like it when I'm a naughty boy."

"Don't give me any lip," Harry says and then smiles.

Harry leans over and begins to rub the inside of Greg's thigh. Greg sets his wine glass down on the coffee table and works his way into the corner of the couch. Greg's not gay, but he needs the money to keep the juice coming. He looks again at the statue. Somehow, he thinks, that little bastard secretly nods in approval.

"What are you thinking about?" Harry asks.

"You, of course," Greg lies.

Harry turns the lamp off. Greg can see the silhouette in the darkness. Nero is still peeking, Greg thinks. Greg is resigned to having an audience. Assassination or uncontrollable hepatitis, dead is dead. Greg and Nero have something in common.

Only Harry hasn't made the connection. He will soon enough. Greg reaches down and unbuckles Harry's belt. A job's a job and he never really bought into the wages of sin anyway. In the darkness, Greg winks at Nero Caesar.

He's almost positive that the little bastard winked back.
---Bill Turner

Monday, April 2, 2007

Another Triplet ~ Early Morning Thoughts

This weekend spent at D&D's was interesting, enjoyable (mostly) and somewhat thought provoking. I'll share more tomorrow, but while there I ran across these three stories, that had quite a bit to do with the weekend - and I wanted to share them. Unfortunately, I could find no authors for the tales.

One night three horsemen were riding across the desert. When they came to the dry bed of a river a voice came out of the darkness, and said, "Halt!"

The men obeyed the command of the hidden voice. the voice then said, "You have done as I commanded. Now get off your horses, pick up a handful of pebbles, put the pebbles in your pockets, remount your horses, and continue on your journey." The the voice added, "Since you have done as I commanded, tomorrow at sunrise you will be both glad and sorry that you obeyed me."

Mystified, the three horsemen rode on through the night. when the sun arose the horsemen reached into their pockets and found that a miracle had happened. the pebbles in their pockets had been transformed into magnificent diamonds, rubies and other precious stones. They remembered the warning, that they would be both glad and sorry; glad that they had taken some pebbles, sorry that they had not taken more.


A spider built his web in a barn, high up among the rafters, where he started by spinning along think thread attached to the end of one of the beams. With this thread still attached to him, the spider jumped off the beam and spun out more thread on the way down, until he reached the place he planned as the center of his web. From the center he then spun out other threads like the spokes of a wheel, attaching each of them to the walls and other places. finally he had an exquisitely made web, that helped him catch many fine fat flies. but he grew fat and lazy and vain.

One day he was admiring the web he had spun and he noticed the long fine thread he had first spun from the top beam and said, "I wonder what that is for? I can't imagine why I ever put it there -- it doesn't catch any flies."

And so on a sudden impulse he broke it. but as a result, the whole wonderful web collapsed. The spider had forgotten that the one thread -- the link to the beam -- supported the whole web.


A series of reverses had deprived him of money, possessions and finally of self-respect. He turned despairingly to begging -- extending an unsure hand with a few pencils in it at subways stations in downtown Manhattan.

One day an elderly banker dropped a quarter in the beggar's trembling hand, turned to go, hesitated and then wheeled on the beggar with: "I want to apologize for treating you as a beggar. You are a merchant, or course, and I came back to get the pencil I paid for." The astonished peddler handed the banker five pencils and thanked him with wondering warmth.

Many months later the banker stopped into a small stationery store on the outer fringe of the Wall Street area. He was about to leave after make a few minor purchases - the proprietor stopped him and said? "I'm sure you won't remember me, but I will never forget you. Some time ago, I was a subway beggar with a handful of pencils and you treated me as a business man - a 'merchant' you called me. that remark gave me back my self-respect. From then on I refused gifts and really sold pencils -- lots of them and good ones, too. From this sidewalk business I saved my money, borrowed a bit more, and then opened this little shop. I'm beginning to make a go of it. and all because of a few words from you."