…and a Happy Halloween to Everyone! Please be careful and mask up to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and Influenza. Blessings to you.
THE MOMENT WE LAST FELL
Today, I had NO choice but to leave the dusty, but mostly sanitary and virus free, confines of the Pharoah Buddy Compound. I went out into the badlands in search of sustenance and some other supplies.
I am what is left of an old guard of warrior – now turned poet, left alone to care for the elders of my tribe and its acquaintances, as well as the great, but often ill, Pharoah Buddy.
My name is Winter NightTiger – Nocturnal Witch and retired Warrior. I have been lost for years, ever since the untimely death of my Witch companion and Familiar, the soft Ganymede.
Despite my loss, and my dusty and prickly spirit, I mustered the old magick, rarely used anymore, to place a force field of deflecting energy about my body the night prior to my quest. This is a gift few have, and a power for which I have always been grateful.
I prayed to the oldest of gods among the Universe to allow my success, and ensure my safe return; free from the touch of the invisible, evil Monster that has invaded so many lands near and far, and tortured and even killed so many helpless folks while they were just living. I’ve cried for so many strangers, people only akin to me through the force of the Great Spirit. I have pulled my sword so many times, seeking to destroy what lurks in the Void, to save a ravaged species. Yet, feeling pangs of guilt, I wonder if we aren’t being served up what we have dished out. It happens sometimes, when Mother Nature punishes us. But, ’tis a story for another day.
Despite a fairly sleepless night and a tiredness burning behind my eyes, I arose while it was still dark, tiptoeing around the castle so as not to awake the castle’s chronically worried – the Most High Elder, or Pharaoh Buddy who feels he must ride the wind with me at any time, in any weather, at any cost. I knew that to avoid much lamenting or ride begging, I had to be as quiet as a church mouse.
So, armed with my shield, hand sanitizer, tissues, and prepared to don vinyl gloves, I set out at dawn to seek the much needed goods as quickly as I could find and gather any of them.
Though there is closer vendors, I set out on longer trip. Going further into the wastelands, seeking that which I knew those closest to me could not supply due to not carrying the products even under normal circumstances. That grand trading post is The World of Wally, where I hoped to find the Jimmy Dean’s Sausage Crumbles that I sought…among other things.
When I arrived at the trading post, the other travelers there were in good spirits too, despite waiting outside in inclement weather for the doors to open.
There were only about 20 of us strangers at 7:00am. With a newfound happiness of finding a courage to venture outdoors, many folks seemed glad to see others and spoke, talking above the blaring winds, of their circumstances and experiences; finding camaraderie in fear and helplessness; in boredom and loneliness; in the need to help and be helped. Yet, you could hear it in voices and see it on faces…the hard-to-hide feeling of being the Most Hunted.
Nothing could hide it. Not gloves, nor masks, nor smiles, nor gleaming eyes. It was there. There in the uneasiness in the step, saddness of the heart, worry upon the face. The feeling of helplessness snuggled underneath the masks of courage. Us all…the Aging, and already Aged, Warriors. Not a Younger in sight at that moment; we are People of Legend.
When the doors opened, we all made jokes and waved our “good luck, be safe,” to one another…wishes that I knew were genuine. This World is changing…again. Can we navigate well enough to survive it…again?
A few of us who made friends ran across each other in the market again. There were a couple of fellows who I might’ve wanted to talk to longer under other circumstances, but we just passed by and smiled, making quick but positive comments.
During my foraging, I enlisted the aid of a tall gentleman to reach something from a top shelf, and despite being of the Hunted – like me, he stopped with good cheer and plucked an out-of-reach bag of Jimmy Dean’s Sausage Crumbles from the depths of the tallest shelf of a cooler section. He even made small talk for about 5 seconds as he steered his cart back onto his own trail. We do have need of each other.
As swiftly as I could, I made my way through the large, fairly empty trading post, where the strangers were well behaved and kept a decent distance from one another…lest the Monster finds us huddled too close…the odors of healthy human hosts too overbearing to resist.
During my hunt, I was able to commandeer hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, toilet paper and bleach – once dying breeds seeming to be making a resurgence in some territories. I was ecstatic to find the elusive sanitizing wipes, and the ever-evasive, dying species…the sanitizer of hands.
I was able to find much of what the Most High elders of my tribe – my Queen Mother and her good friend, Lady Mary, needed.
Yesterday, I had ventured to the Kingdom of the Smart Pets for no-touch curbside service of the Pharoah’s prescription specialty grub and healthy treats. The trek was seemingly uneventful and I never left my chariot. The Kingdom of the Smart Pets lives to serve the pharaohs, kings, queens, wood peckers, flea scratchers, and the feathered jokers in our miserable human lives…despite those same Servants also being among the Hunted. They, along with those that labor in places such as The World of Wally, and infirmaries where Servants take care of the ill – despite their own odds, these are the strong along with hero First Responders and emergency personnel, and those that pick up our waste and clean our messes. These are the best of our species.
I exchanged cash for my foods and dry goods at the trading post of Wally, then hurried to my chariot as the winds whipped at my hair and water sprinkled from dark clouds. Despite that, a fierce wind can be our friend, possibly blowing the Monster to points uninhabited, ripping its tentacle feelers along the route.
As I loaded the chariot, I looked this way and that…searching for a flying Creeper; an airborne Monster that no animal can see with the naked eye. “Where are you hiding, shadowy Monster? You, who has even outdone, even impressed, the Devil. Will you leave us be?”
I heard no answer with my ears. But despite the only noise being that of the wind, I felt an answer to my final question was given, although unspoken: “I have just begun.”
Other than that ominous feeling, I fought off doom and gloom and deemed my quest quite successful.
The Elders were grateful and joyful upon my return. Pharoah Buddy was happy to see me, yet, was loaded with questions of the “why didn’t you take me with…you shouldn’t have gone alone” sort.
I hope that I was swift enough and kept enough distance from others to elude the silent Monster that lurks in shared spaces and atop oatmeal canisters and packages of beef jerky.
Each time a member of a tribe, a house, compound, or kingdom, and so forth, goes out in search of supplies, they go alone. And upon return, they do not know if they have lead the silent, yet deadly, Monster back to their home.
Once home, the terrifyingly real waiting period begins another cycle.
I disguarded my armour in the carriage house, to rid myself of possible tentacles or spores deposited by the Monster. I donned my robe, and breathed deeply, unsure of the future of my House.
Be strong, fearless species. We shall rise again. But hopefully, we will emerge from this darkness, more patient, kinder and smarter than at the moment we last fell.
Copyright 2020 Wanda Paryla
Today, 3/22/2020, is World Water Day. Please strive to conserve. Do not pollute.
AN ANCESTOR’S GOODBYE
You came in through the door with the wind, manifesting on a sunbeam. Leaves that didn’t exist to the eye rustled in the ear. The dog barked; the blackbird flew. You lingered quietly in a corner. Then sometime during the night, you were gone with a squeak from the door.
Wanda Paryla 2019
Good morning, everyone. And happy Christmas Eve! I hope you have a pleasant day, especially if you have to work like I do. I have many plans and goals for 2019. No resolutions, just goals. 2018 was an unpleasant year for me. I hope it was better for you. But needless to say, I am looking for it to go bye-bye next week. 😊
WHERE FIRES GLOW
I was swinging to and fro
Laughing out loud
Barbaric is my memory
Devil’s on the playground
Here to erase my afflictions
God turned his back on me a long time ago
Now I live where the fires glow
Back and forth my memory rages
I struggle to keep my eyes shut
I need to stay where the fires glow
Let me rest in peaceful flame
Bottomless and salty
Protection from truths
Is the pit of the damned
Where the fires glow
Some voices, they urge me
Face your slave masters
But the fires beg me
Cover your eyes for sanity
Devil holds me
Gently in his arms
God’s gone, sweet child
So stay here where the fires glow
Avengers of my ravaged goodness
I know that I’m safe nowhere
But where the fires glow
Copyright 2018 Wanda S. Paryla
There’s a saying, printed on canvass, that hangs in my office. It reads, “Hope is a joyful expectation of good.” I’ve been contemplating that for some time now. I look at it, longingly, needless to say, each time I go into my office.
We shouldn’t give up the hope of good things to come for us or those we care for. No matter what they are. Even something as small as that you hope the cupcakes your baking don’t burn. Or that your new sweater doesn’t stretch out of shape in the wash.
Then we have those big ones. The hopes of better jobs, raises in pay, the completion of a first-draft novel, retirement in a better place. Maybe there’s the hope that your number will come in at the Roulette table, or that your square wins big on your office Superbowl bet. Or even bigger, that your body will be healed of aches, pains, or disease. Or that your mind will be healed of some ailment that your heart bares heavily…or the lack of said hope.
I find that when one finally gives up on hope is when their losses to challenges stack up. The jar full of hopelessness-es becomes a teetering tower. Sometimes, unfortunately, our tower of losses comes crashing down. And where do we go from there?
Some people do not have to fight cancer, or homelessness, or starvation to run out of hopes. Everyone has their own battles and we should not down others because someone else “has it worse than you.” No one’s failures, regrets or letdowns belong to another, and therefore cannot be understood by any other. We can sympathize, empathize, berate, hold up or slap down…but we cannot fully understand.
If you feel there is no more hope, that you have lost the last bit – don’t believe it. Do not let your mind convince you. Keep looking. Look under the bed, in a high school photo, in a book, in an old shoe box…just look. Pet a dog, listen to birds sing…watch the snow fall. But look.
A long time ago, I heard a mother tell her child to “not hope for things she can never achieve.” I call bull shit! Why? I have many hopes…dreams…that I may never – will never – achieve. But I keep them. I keep them to remind me that it can be done, and if not by me, by someone else. Fuck off, naysayers. That’s what I say.
But, yes, it’s such a heart boost to achieve a hope…such as a goal, or a life’s dream…or as something as simple as saving enough money for new shoes. They can be all sorts of things from learning to throw a ball to making a winning touchdown on Superbowl day, to baking your first “from scratch” cake to meeting and cooking with Rachel Ray, from writing an A+ school essay to writing for Time or Rolling Stone; from overcoming a sprained ankle to beating a deadly disease, or from overcoming a fear of spiders…to stepping down from a building’s ledge after a suicidal thought.
Hope is all we have when we find ourselves deep in the great abyss of losses or even choices. When we’ve lost it all or screwed it up…or someone did that for us…and there’s no person around at 1:00 A.M. to console us, there’s hope (and maybe your cat). Hope is there, smiling upon us, trying to show us the barely-there light burning at the end of a long-ass tunnel of treachery. Hope is reflected in the eyes of your deceased grandmother’s last photo, in the hoot of an owl, or in the colors of a rainbow, in the memory of how a song makes you feel, or the in the moves of an adrift feather.
Thanks for reading, and may your hopes be fulfilled.
Greetings! Please forgive any typing errors or crazy sentences, and for some of you, I believe you may see two font sizes here. I guess that’s the difference between typing on my phone and typing on the computer. I shall try to fix this the next time I get on the computer. LOL!. It has taken me several days to write this, and I may not have edited it well. And most of all, please forgive the length. I am good for writing lengthy blogs, but this one may take the cake due to the subject matter.
Okay. I thought maybe I was losing my mind. I thought maybe I was depressed. Then I thought that – once again- I had writer’s block. It’s been so bad, as you can see, I have neglected my blog for almost a year. I couldn’t even right a blog!
I’m on the fence when it comes to writer’s block. I’m not really sure if I believe in the concept. Or maybe I just don’t have a deep enough understanding of writer’s block. Maybe because there are several definitions of writers block, each according to each individual writer’s perspective.
I believe that writer’s block can be caused by one or many things. Often procrastination, sometimes illness, most often distractions from life. Those distractions are ones we actually allow. We need to take time to write, don’t we? Record that block time in your datebook; stick to it.
I have projects on the table, things I’ve been working on for months, even years. A book that was filling up with poetry, and so many other things. Even an editing project or two.
I was in the midst of writing – attempting to write – Chicago Down when I realized that I can’t. I just can’t. Nothing’s changed in my head. I can see it, feel it, hear it, taste it. But it won’t come out. It just will not travel from my brain through my arms and hands onto the page (or the computer screen as it were).
I did not notice it at first. It came on so slowly. And then just one day it hit hard. I stopped. It reminded me of when a bird flies into a clean, clear glass window. How he just slams into it and then drops to the ground and flutters around down there. Sometimes he doesn’t recover. That seemed to be me.
I was…still am…unable to control my own creative mind and thought processes. I begged my Muse desperately for help. Believe it or not, I even talked to the long-dead Al Capone. Asking him for inspiration. Literally speaking scenarios aloud or picturing them in my head and asking him what should I write? What would you write? What should I do? The truth is, I didn’t really need those answers. I could see it just like always. What I was asking for was a way to take that film out of my head and put it on the page like I have for the last 35 years! I was asking Al, and Muse, how to write it out on the page, not actually what to write, but how to write it…onto the page! Get it?
Every time I write fiction lately it reads more like a newspaper article than a fictional story. Thankfully I’ve not had too many problems with poetry. No matter what type of poetry or how long or short the piece. That could be because of the rhyming words. Maybe? *Shrug* Your guess is as good as mine.
For months I contemplated why my ocean was drained of writing powers. Where are my mermaids, unicorns and flying fish?
I tried to do everything to get it back. Whatever “it” is. I call it writer’s block, but the problem is, I have no problem imagining things the way I have for the last three decades! I just cannot get my arms, fingers and brain to communicate with each other. It’s sort of like…say…you can see a word in your head and you can hear yourself or someone else pronounce it, but when you go to speak it, you’re mute. That’s me. That’s how I feel right now. I’m creatively mute. I can see it, but can’t speak it…or write it out, as it were.
I spoke with fellow writers about it. Talked to other artists. I set blocks of time for writing where I just sat in front of my computer and did nothing. Or typed aimless sentences because that seemed to work for me and others in the past.
To fuel my creativity, I looked up real facts on the internet; looked at newspaper articles, etc, and would copy and paste them into the timeline of the novel so that I could rewrite them in my own words. Adding things in between like fake situations and circumstances.
Wow. That didn’t work. It looked horrible. Sounded horrible.
Then one day at the physician’s office, I was complaining about all sorts of things. The poor doc! Then she said to me, it’s your beta blocker. I was like, what? Now this was some time ago. Deep in my heart I felt it was the medication. Fast forward, I tried another medication and it made me almost lose my mind. I actually would sort of black out, and it seemed like I woke up in another place. Sometimes it would take me several seconds to get my bearings. I don’t like that, and I certainly don’t like the idea of that happening to me on an interstate by a toll booth during rush times.
So, doc put me back on my original beta blocker. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. That’s how I look at it. There’s really not many other medications that I can try. So, now, with some professional help, I am working to break through the barrier that the beta blocker has built.
The doc said that I can absolutely break through it. She said it’s sort of like when people have a brain injury, or stroke, or some kind of mental trauma in their lives that happened to them, and they have to relearn things, or regain memories. She said I have to break through; I can break through, and the brain will react similarly to when people’s brains forge new pathways after a physical or mental trauma.
So I had to dig through boxes to find some writer workbooks I purchased in the past. I bought them with interest, but then found a project and never really worked with them, so I have great books now to use to help me out. Ms. Professional Nut-curer told me to utilize the lessons. And to read, read, read fiction, especially smaller novella-type books. She said to read shorter novels and short stories so that I don’t lose interest in the middle of a story. The beta blocker is also causing a sort of attention deficit, but only where reading and writing (anything at all) is concerned and I need to stick to shorter stories for now. She said if I read a few pages and my Noodle is urging me to stop and go eat ice cream or play on Facebook, I must overcome and read one more page. But, I do need to stop when I cannot recall what I just read on the extra pages, or can’t decipher the meaning behind the scenes if there is one.
I am fighting this. Unfortunately for me, I am terribly sensitive to medications. I have rarely taken them in my life for this reason. One of the results is my high tolerance to pain being that over-the-counter meds like Naproxen or Ibuprofen is about all I can tolerate. Also, I’ve been a very low user of penicillin and other antibiotics, hence my high positive response to them. Only these last 3-4 years have I been a avid user of antibiotics due to a chronic condition that causes colon infections and powerful antibiotics are often needed. Anyway, let me put it this way… if a medication side affect is dizziness or sleepiness, etc…look out. I’ll be passed out somewhere before you know it.
I take a beta blocker for a rapid heart beat with no known cause, at this time. One day around New Year’s Day, 2016, I was drinking a wine product. I had about 4 ounces in a glass. I drank most of it over a period of 30 minutes. My heart rate increased quickly, stayed high for a couple of days along with my blood pressure, and I ended up in a hospital emergency room where I stay for three nights. I never drank a wine product again…because I can’t.
As an update, my heart and all it’s parts are perfectly healthy. In fact, the doc that did the angiogram said that if he had not seen me…he would’ve thought I was 10 years younger than my age…I was actually 46. He said I have a very healthy heart, my arteries are free of plaque, etc. Later that year, October, I had a Doppler on my legs. Thoroughly on the right leg. The person who performed it stated the same thing about my leg arteries. They both encouraged me to take caution and care for my healthy heart and arteries…literally telling me how lucky I am. I believe them.
Getting back to the beta blocker story. I am now working through the block(er) with the suggested mental and creative exercises. Also using meditation when I can. And of course, I just keep on trying to write my stories. I keep on trying even if it means I just stare at the last sentence I wrote three weeks earlier, or even just blinking my eyes at a blank MS Word page. Or staring at a photo of Al Capone, or of a river at dawn, or of my favorite place – a beach of South Padre Island.
I find it so hard to believe that such a low dose of this medication has had such a negative impact upon my creativity and though processes. But, alas, here it is. And it does other things as well…like give me the skin creepy-crawlies, and cause odd dreams, and sometimes nightmares.
I just want to encourage you all to take a look at your medications if you think you have become different because of one of them or a combination of meds. And, try to do something about it before taking one medication leads you to take another medication to relieve you of a side effect of another. Sometimes doctors and pharmacists do not realize it’s your medications. Never, ever feel afraid or too intimidated to tell them that you do feel it’s your med. That almost happened to me. Doc thought I’d need sleeping pills or an anti-depressant, etc.
My sleeplessness is caused from the pill building up in my system. My depression is caused from my inability to do the one thing in this world that relieves my stress and tension. The one thing that I’m good at. The only thing that I’m good at. I thought, at one point, I was becoming useless and worthless. How odd that we label ourselves in such ways.
We are thinking I should take the medication in a time-released option. I may try it.
A friend of mine was on several medications. A family member of his complained to me that my friend’s behavior was very odd. I inquired about medications he was on. When he told me what they were, I named two and said those should not be taken together. It just so happened that they were prescribed by two different doctors and my friend did not tell the docs truthfully what he was being prescribed by the other. Turns out that I was correct and his medications were changed. I’m glad because they were clashing something terrible.
Just be careful of your meds. The doc doesn’t always know best. But you do. If a negative effects persist for more than a couple weeks, call the doctor. But if the effect is too overbearing, do not wait for several days to go by as it can ruin you. We all know it takes time sometimes for a negative side effect to work itself out. But don’t let it set you on fire. Speaking of fire. I was prescribed a steroid for inflammation, and even though I had read the possible side effects, I didn’t realize one was telling me to stop taking it. I continued through the whole prescription. I now have permanent high blood pressure brought on by the prolonged use of the steroid because I did not recognize my discomfort as a side effect. I never had high BP in my life not brought about an illness or condition. My usual BP was always normal. Not anymore. Now I take blood pressure medication and my BP may never again be normal…all because of the side effects of another medication. Sadly, a medication I probably didn’t need.
So for those of you who have been waiting for a book after the New Year, it may not happen. But do not give up on me, or be disappointed in me…I will come back. I just hate it when promises are broken. I hate it when people are broken too. Please forgive me for that. It’s been out of my hands. But I will make a come back. Me and my Noodle…and Muse, and Al Capone.
As always, thank you for reading.