Archive | October 18, 2015

That Strange Flower, the Sun



by Wallace Stevens

That strange flower, the sun,
Is just what you say.
Have it your way.

The world is ugly,
And the people are sad.

That tuft of jungle feathers,
That animal eye,
Is just what you say.

That savage of fire,
That seed,
Have it your way.

The world is ugly,
And the people are sad.


Tomorrow I am hosting a surprise birthday party for my father, and it is already 2 a.m. as I write this.  I’m exhausted and in need of some sleep, but want to write to fulfill my challenge for this 18th day.  I have so much that needs to be done, that I wanted to do but will not get to, but tonight my heart is weary with all the drama that surfaces when one just wants to create a simple celebration for a guy who’s made it through 85 years on this troubled planet of ours.

One person telephoned me last week screaming because she did not receive an invitation.  She was sure I sent the entire world one but blamed her for not RSVPing, when neither was the case.  She called me ignorant and low class and insinuated that I am a liar.  I finally had to hang up on her; there was absolutely no getting through to her.  In addition to that, my nieces aren’t speaking to each other and are worried about being in the same room with each other, then out of what seemed to me to be nowhere, my daughter started complaining about her undergraduate graduation, which was so many years ago I could scarcely recall it.  Once I did, I could not believe she was still harboring anger over something I had long forgotten about, and something that to my mind never even happened.

I’m feeling spent, like there is no way to please anyone,

and that I live in a world of my own creation that no one understands.

Sometimes I have trouble understanding the millennial generation.  They are such a privileged generation, yet often it seems they have the biggest complaints of any I have ever known.  My grandparents grew up during the depression, and it seemed they never took anything for granted.  My grandmother made use of every scrap, even though she grew to be a wealthy woman.  My parents grew up during World War II, but they learned to find ways to be happy and to have fun in times of toil and trouble.  I am a baby boomer, who grew up under the fear of Soviet bomb threats, and I was taught that hard work is the key to success.

My generation had enough comfort and even wealth to spoil the next, and we did.  I saw the negative effects of this over-indulgence in my college students, and I see it sometimes in my own children and in my friends’ children.  The generation that most seemed to have everything material and idealistic turns out to be the least satisfied.  Not across the board, of course, but just generally speaking.  We see more kids than ever, it seems, abandoning their families and traditional values for a country club kind of lifestyle, drugs, alcohol, or just general dysphoria.  Not all of them, of course, but more than ever, it seems to me.  What are they in search of?  What are they forfeiting on their quest for independence (or is it happiness)?

I don’t know how to help malcontent people.  I am so used to trying to find what is good in a bad situation, I don’t know how to persuade them to see what is wrong with their thinking or feeling, or how to address their complaints.  I don’t know how to help angry people.  Take the lady who called me up insisting I never sent an invitation when I did….I told her I would be happy to send her another invitation because she was most definitely on the list and I had plenty of extras.  She would not have it.  She just wanted to be angry, and I could not help her with her anger; all I could do was send her another invitation.  I tried to convince her she was not excluded, but she wanted to believe she was.  I guess that way she could believe that I was some sort of evil person.

There is too much competition and too much projection going on in the world some days.  None of us can help what someone else is feeling, particularly if they will not listen to reason.

I had hoped to write a tribute honoring my father, but the week has gotten away from me and I am out of time. I will speak extemporaneously, and hope that by the time I do, my heart is clear again and not boggled down with the complaints of others who are dissatisfied with me.  I am never intentionally remiss as I was accused of being by both the ranting woman and the graduate.  I never deliberately tried to hurt either person, and most the time I am just doing the best that I can.

People can be very hard on one another, and as a consequence that person can become hard on oneself. Having suffered viciously uncomfortable and painful head trauma, I gained a surprising amount of self respect.  I have learned that, even when others hate and revile me, I am going to make every effort to be kind to myself.

I am sorry that sometimes people can’t move beyond their suspicions and disappointments.  I think that if they could accept me as I am, they might like me a whole lot better than they do, or than they act like they do.

One thing for certain, I am happy to be a daughter who looks on the bright side of things.  I don’t think my father would tolerate my being anything less.  And for that, I am most grateful.


This is Day 18 in the 31 Day Writing Challenge, 31 Days of Breaking Free from Fatigue


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