Sunday, July 08, 2007

Shunning and avoiding the people who love us


I share with my correspondents a certain sense of unfinished business when it comes to people who love us; we take that love for granted, give our friends, old and new, a kind of "one- hand- in- my- pocket- the-other is -hailing -a -taxicab" treatment-- and move on.

Or is it my Alanis Morisette obsession, where she writes to a friend in a song, saying, "My life was in a state of turmoil then and I really wish I'd given you the proper time and attention, back then."

Over the past forty years, people had been trying to contact me, enter into a relationship with me, but so fixed was I on the pain in my head that I pretty well fobbed them off, concentrating instead on some woman who was playing with my head, or another woman whose head I'd been playing with.

Harry the Rat with Women, will sometimes say to himself, "She loves me. That's her hang-up. Ah well. There's enough of me to go around. I'll eventually move over to her. First, I've got to get rid of Betty."

But the lover "out there" doesn't have all the time in the world, and Harry will get around to his ghostly love all right, but she'll be introducing him to Fred.

I swear that mankind's biggest problem is not climate change but our miserable failure in relationships.

Sin and neglect cause Global Warming?--Good a theory as any.

Icelanders, who haven't had global warming for at least 800 years, are now into sin and soul. Fishing is boring.
"We got nightclubs. We got hookers."

Interesting what will happen once the fjords start melting. And they are.



Snapped continuity in relationships.

You don't need to be a geopolitician to figure this out.

We either don't get along or turn a fishy eye to people who want to get along with us.

Hit me, says the masochist.
No, says the sadist.


Everything is altered, of course, if suddenly you lose all your money.

Then you dig up those old friends. Then you re-establish those old contacts.

The money will be forthcoming. But there will be a certain sadness in the giver.

"All these years, and you want to re-establish a relationship on a mere fifty dollar loan.
"Why did you leave us in the first place?"


How close our lives can sometimes be to the characters in the great novels?

Madame Bovary, the liberated hair-flowing-free adultress, letting her spirit run wild-- until one day she loses the money. Goes to the most effeminate of her lovers--and he doesn't have any money.

No money. And the old lover can't even get it up any more.


Becky Sharp runs out of gas.

We all, at different times, run out of gas.


Some years ago, I had run out of gas as a journalist, went to the editorial department of the Toronto Star, talked to all my friends there.

But I had omitted one.

The most important one.

My old mentor at the Star, Len Coates.

It took me a full week to realized that Len had been there waiting to shake my hand, to talk to me, and in the rush of people from the past, I had totally ignored him.
And he was really the most important one. And he'd had an opening in his sports section in the Star. I could have had a job. This I find out later when I meet Len on the street.
We have two beers and a Drambuie each and leave the taproom, a little saddened. We exchange cards.
In my carelessness, I had soured a lifelong relationship. Just when Len wanted to have a beer with me, reminisce about the past, offer me a job--I was too full of of trying to be the social mover, all the while trying to ignore the pain in my head.

The same with former Mayor Crombie, of Toronto.
We had been great friends.

Eight years later, I am walking down the street, David going the other way.
He moves to embrace me as a friend, and I just keep walking. What is on my mind? "Why that damn bitch!... took all my furniture, my guitar, my typewriter, my means of making a livelihood. All to support her %&*# ing drug habit."

It could almost see the hurt on David's face. A man of that stature does not wear his heart on his sleeve.
He had for years supported me as a poet and I all but tell him to eff off.

So the next time you're in a crisis, all in a flap, all in a hurry, The Sky Is Falling, pause, do pause, when you meet an old friend. Give him the time.

The pause may even result in your solving the problem right there.

The problem of you not getting along with people who love you.

##

46 comments:

Donnetta Lee said...

I learned a long time ago about the importance of forgiveness. No, I still do not act on this appropriately nor fully, but I do try. The benefits are immeasurable. Now, that's not to say that when someone has hurt you in the past and will only continue to hurt you in the future, that you have to put up with it. Sometimes forgiveness means moving on. But maybe with a smile and a nod to the one you are leaving. And a smile and a nod if you ever pass them on the steet.
Donnetta

Josie said...

Donnetta is so right. Forgiveness is important. And dignity is important too. One should never allow another person to take away his or her dignity. And sometimes forgiveness does mean moving on. Forgive, forget, move on...

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Seems to me Jesus was right, but I have to agree with Donnetta that you can't just turn the other cheek and have people continuing to hurt you. In all reverence, you can only go with the parable so far.
There are maniacs out there who use and who abuse. Sometimes we just have to leave...I somehow think you learn this at the shank end of forty.
You don't want the Humpty Dumpty repair job one more time.

Ivan

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Yes Josie,
I used to like the long-dead economic philosopher John Stuart Mill.
"Do what you want, but don't get past the end of my nose."

Get past the ond of my nose and there are consequences?

But what makes me thoughful is the Old Testament story of David and Absalom.
Absalom, David's son was a truly bad seed. But David kept forgiving him to the end.
Perhaps the weakness lay in David's own character, his own tendency for adultery and even murder.
Seems that a great weakness, a great evil was running through the family; Absalom was not just a bad seed.
There are certainly too many instances of good parents and rotten children. "He came from a good home", and all that.

Ivan

EA Monroe said...

"What would Abraham Lincoln do?"

:-) I heard that the other day and just had to say it!

I've always heard don't burn your bridges and be nice to others on your way up the ladder because if you're not nice, chances are you'll meet the same folks on your way back down the ladder!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Liz,

Oh how frustrating it is when you frame an answer to a comment--and suddenly lose the darn thing in cyberspace the way I just did!

As frustrating, I suppose as the incompetent General George Meade was for Lincoln when Meade failed to cut off Lee's retreat from Gettysburg.

Lincoln wrote an emotional letter:

"If you only know he disappointged I am in you..
"Since you failed to cut off Lee's retreat the war will now go on for at least two years."

Lincoln never sent the letter.

...Just thinking of a possible letter like this from George Bush Sr. to his not-terribly-bright son.

...But George Sr. probaby crumpled it up too.


You are so right on the ladder analogy, Liz.


I wasn't always nice to people on the way up.

...And the last time I failed in a major project, somebody said, "It looks good on him."

Funny how when you try for a degree of sainthood, you are often an S.O.B in trying to get there.
Seems you need a touch of the devil to earn your halo. :)

On a lighter note, Late night talkshow host Conan O'Brien did have a skit recently called "What would Conan Do?"

Usually, it was something outrageous. :)

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, I don't believe in the "bad seed" theory. I don't believe people are born bad - even Hitler. Something happens to them as they grow up, and often it is pathological or physical. No one is to blame, just misfortune. I think, also, that people can choose to be "good" or "bad". It's a conscious thing. But I do believe in Karma too. If think if we treat people badly on a consistent basis, it will come back to bite us in the a**. Even Donald Trump is going to "get his" one day.

I've known a few Harry the Rats in my day. Every single one of them has been calling me lately, and one of them even proposed marriage a couple of weeks ago. I just laughed. She who laughs last? Heh, heh.

Did you get my e-mail?

Josie

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

JOSIE,

I DID NOT GET YOUR EMAIL.

...SAME THING HAPPENS SOMETIMES WITH MY SON WHO GIVES ME TECH INSTRUCTIONS...HE GETS SO FRUSTRATED WHEN I DON'T GET THE E-LETTER.

SORRY.

CAN YOU RE-SEND?

Ivan

Josie said...

I have re-sent it.

Sienna said...

Couple of years ago I found (it found me :) ) this quote on a forum...

*Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Continue to learn.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Laugh!
Do what you love.
Love as if this is all there is.*

Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey

I read this a bit Ivan, just to remind me of stuff about me...I am me, I am not (quite:) ) perfect, I make mistakes but they are mine and I do it my way....right or wrong it is my way.

Pam

Josie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sienna said...

and just for fun, I found this one too.......censor at your own discretion:

Home is heaven and orgies are vile,
But I like an orgy, once in a while.
~Ogden Nash, Home, 99 44/100% Sweet Home

I just love the humor of it...it's not that I am into orgies! this just makes me laugh

Pam

http://www.creativewrirting.ca said...

Josie,
I think you misunderstood my intention.
I was thinking of you and the Polish lady when yout two first met, and the resulting angst over your not picking up the fact that she wanted your lanyard so she could have one.
However, if you want your name out of that first para, I'll do the standard jounalistic weasel trick.

Oh what the hell.

Maybe it was just a bum blog.

Ivan

Josie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Pam,

Seems that for the past thirty years, I have been acting out
Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey's advice--unwittingly.

Ended up like the mole who didn't learn to "go around" insteat of straight at the boulder. Nose a bit tender.
This attitude, I suppose, is oone we both share.
But sore nose and all, it's probably the best that I, for one, could have adopted at critical junctures.
I've got a sore button nose, but I think I detect a fissure in the rock! :)

Ivan

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Pam,

So you like Ogden Nash too?
I absolutely dig the guy.

I am especially fond of:

Malt does more than Milton can
To show the ways of God to man.

Orgies: I was once invited to one, but the crack Ho who threw the party disrobed me and said,
"You call that a .....?"

What could I say? At least I came to her party.
The other guy had lace on his shorts.

Like the guy who invented a one-wheel motorbike which he called a "Wheelie", some days you just can't get your Wheelie to work.

I mean all this with a sense of black humour.

My doctor says it was my "intelligence" that saved me, but I don't believe him. I think I somehow snapped the crank cord. :)

Too much information, I know.

Ogden Nash was Irish-American, I think.

There are a couple of Irish toasts that give me a giggle:


God invented whiskey so the Irish wouldn't rule the world!

I'll have what the man on the floor's having!

May we get what we want,
May we get what we need,
But may we never get what we deserve.
-Cedric

Ivan

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

I don't know about anybody else,
but I hink I'm going to have a drink.
Must be the Irish drinking toasts
that got me in the mood.

I love the Irish.
They are so much like us, their distant, distant cousins.

Ah, what the hell. Only 50,000 years removed, but certainly sharing certain traits.

Ivan

Donnetta Lee said...

Well, Hubby is Irish and he's into the wine tonight. I can only drink water and the nutrition drinks, you know with this crud I have. But we'll give you a toast tonight anyway! Here's to you this evening.
Donnetta

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Donnetta,
Into the Woodstock mode here too.
Maybe hubby and I should hang around together.

&***%%%%%%%%**###%%%%####%%%%&&&&%%%%#^%% !!!

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, I meant to ask you, who are the ladies in the photograph? I'm being snoopy/nosey now :-)

Cheers,
Josie

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,
Nothing like I know them.

They are a team of PhD's who work with abused women. From U.S., I think.
I lifted the photo when I googled clinics for mentally and physically abused women for a possible future blog.

I am googling next for abused Ukrainians. :)

Thank you so much for the "treeware" birthday card. IT joins some on the mantle...Yep, we seniors have our moments, as the card suggests. :)

The term treeware sort of makes me laugh.

My friend Aaron Braaten when told by Star writer Antonia Zerbisias that she was doing a treeware (broadsheet newspaper)column, immediately said, "Hm. Treeware...Wouldn't that be leaves?"
"Why you young whippersnapper!" she posted back in her medi blog.

Ivan

EA Monroe said...

Ivan, do you know what happened to the lovely "inside?" Her blog The Emotional Being is missing in action today! ~Liz

Josie said...

Ivan, I had never heard of Treeware until today. What is it? I didn't know the card was Treeware. I just thought it was cute.

Josie

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

Franctic googlin produces:

treeware (TREE.wayr) n. Books, newspapers, magazines, and other print material.


Example Citation:
Time Inc. spent $ 1 billion in paper, printing, postage, and distribution costs last year, so you can imagine why publishers are salivating about e-publishing. The only way to compete with treeware is with an electronic counterpart that provides many of paper's attributes.
—Frank J. Romano, "Beyond treeware to e-paper," Electronic Publishing, January 1, 2001

Ivan

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

p.s. to Josie,

Treeware.

It's a good thing I had some reliable text to cut and paste.

My opener, "Franctic googlin produces" is hard to beat. :)

Ivan

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Liz,

I can't find "Inside our hands, outside our hearts" either.

I never got the lady's name, but "The Emotional Being" was a fine blog with excellent poetry by a budding writer.

I like the poetry, very much.

Too bad I have been in some sort of emotional snit over the past two weeks, or I would surely have published the poetry here--so fine was the work.

I do hope "The Emotional Being" comes back.

...Maybe it was the naked Mata Hari she had as her blog logo...?
Some prude got to her?

It's a shame. (No, not the reclining nude in the Turkish budoir)...It's a shame the blog has gone awol.

Ivan

Josie said...

Ahhhh, treeware. In other words, I managed to scr*w up the environment, ha!

Josie

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

You did not screw up the environment.

On the back of the card you had sent me, it said,

Recycled Paper Greetings ®

...Gee, I even figured out a way to retgain the symbol for registration!...Will I ever learn how to put italics into a comment?
...Liz showed me a hundred times, and it still doesn't work.

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, I am impressed Ha!

To put italics in, you put the backward carat < and then you type the word letters em and then you put the forward carat >

When you have finished typing what you want italicized, you again put the backward carat < and then you type /em and then you put the forward carat >. Simple. Now you try it.

Josie

Josie said...

That didn't make sense. I'll try again.

Type the backward carat <
Type the letters em
Type the the forward carat >
So that the word em is in between the two carats.
Now, type the the word or phrase you want italicized.
Now, to close the italics, type the backward carat again <
Type the letters /em
Type the forward carat >
So that the word /em is in between the two carats.
So em between the carats opens the italics, /em between the two carats closes the italics.

Does that make any sense?

Give it a try, heh, heh.

Josie

Okay, now I'm just showing off....

HeiressChild said...

hi ivan, i just saw on josie's blog that you had a birthday on saturday. i went to hershey park on friday with the summer camp i help out at, went to a wedding on saturday, and slept most of sunday. i'm blog hopping tonite, and wanted to wish you a BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY! i'm sure you celebrated in style (whatever that means), and may you continue to be blessed.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

cocaine, cocaine, you go rith to my brain

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Got it, Josie, right down to my standard typo.
Thnks.

Ivan

Josie said...

Yaaay, Ivan!

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Heiresschild,

Why thank you!

I am still trying to get over the uh, spirit of the festivities.

Hershey Park...I keep confusing it with the ball field in Pennsylvania...But then Maryland is right alongside.
I did love the Northeast when I drove through there some years ago.
Loved the Amish and their wares.

Ivan

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

I'm moving to New Jersey now that I've got Italics figured out.

Tomorrow, Danforth Avenue in Toronto where I can see some Greek
unctuals...Whoops, sorry Zorba!

Ivan

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thank you for the words of hard earned wisdom. I hope you will find peace.

benjibopper said...

well articulated and valuable advice.

i think you're right about climate change. we're bad at relationships with each other, bad at relationships with other animals and with plants, bad at relationships with our habitat and the environment at large.

but i don't think it's inherent to our species; it's a behaviour we've learned over the past few thousand years. we used to be better at these things. maybe our species is going through puberty.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Lone Grey Squirrel,
As they say in thrrapeutic circles, your comment has somehow
"triggered something in me", especially after I read the story on your current post, a tragic story of John and Jane and the husband of Jane who turned utterly homicidal when he found Jane was emotionally involed with John.
I have never read a story presented with such stark realism, such a winnowing out of the unimportant, such a cautionary tale.

I have a simiar story, though more comic than tragic.
I offered the story on your comment space, but I think I will reroduce it here.
Your story of John and Jane and a husband is certainly there for us to ponder. It is tragedy, atavism, death.
Mine, though strangely similar seems all the while to have some elements of high humour.
So here goes:


Tragic stories jog memories.
They can certainly be cautionary tales.
I was the husband in a similar story, but my story had a fourth courner...The older I get, the more I realize that all triangles have a fourth corner.
I had been separating from my wife and soon somehow set up a triangle; got a girlfriend.

A man moved in with my wife.
There was a rearranging here.
I resented the interloper for living in my wife's house, drinking my beer, patting my dog, driving my second car.
Okay, okay, I had the girlfriend, but in the last count, she meant nothing to me; I was used to being married and the monk's existence was not for me; would have otherwise been a depression and a psychiatrist.
But then my wife sends me this letter saying that she was now sexually involved with this stranger.
I suddenly became "Jane's husband".

I did the eight-hour drive thing, arrived into my former living room and caught the stranger pretending to be asleep on the sofa.

There was a heavy wooden chair just in front of a coffee table before which the stranger lay "sleeping."
I could have picked up this heavy chair and bludgeoned him to death with it.
There was an intant choice: Murder or just a venting of long-pent-up emotion.
I was wearing sneakers at the time.

I chose to try to kick him to death.
Teading a strange path in the dark, I walked all over my rival; the sofa springs absorbed most of the kicks. He certainly wouldn't die.
In the middle of my ritual dance, my wife rushed in to interfere.
Her, I could not harm, as I had been an adulterer too.

She finally pulled us apart, pushed me out of the house. I felt that I had lost, but from an animal standpoint, did I feel better!
There was s strange humour to the situation.
Violence is golden?
In a parallel universe, I heard God saying that there but for His Grace, I almost went I the way of Jane's husband.
I had been offered choices.
I could have killed my wife's lover (I am strong enough)--or just gotten his attention.

Eventually, they separated.

The soap opera continues.


Thanks, LGS, for allowing me to let off a little steam.

Thank God I did not go the way of
Jane's husband.

Ivan

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benjibopper,

The only way I could comment on your comment would be to reproduce what you have just said.

Wisdom.
I does appear that you are a writer.

Ivan

JR's Thumbprints said...

When will you pay my momma all that child support money? I had to pay my own way to college. But I forgive you.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Said Hunter S. Thompson about Hubert Humphrey, "The man should be castrated so his seed won't be passed down.
Said antique Roger Miller,
"Dang me,
"They ought to take a rope and hang me."

Ivan

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