memories


Random quote of the day:

“Memoir is not an act of history but an act of memory, which is innately corrupt.”

—Mary Karr, The Liars’ Club: A Memoir

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

IF

The Firewolf

Some years ago, when I was still doing art inspired by American Indian sprituality, I had a powerful dream. In this dream, I was gazing into a campfire out in the woods. An enormous grey wolf emerged from the fire, leaping over my head and knocking me flat on my back, his fur trailing sparks of fire that left my eyes dazzled. He ran off and disappeared into the darkness of the forest.

When I woke, I thought perhaps this was a power dream sent to me by the wolf spirit. My teacher had encouraged me to take such dreams seriously and to use them in the artwork. As it happened, I was in the process of making a medicine shield, an object inspired by personal visions, or vision quests, and used by various tribes to protect them spiritually. I figured the dream had sent me the image I needed for it.

When I presented the finished shield to my teacher, she was amazed. “What inspired you to use this image?” she asked.

I told her about the dream.

“You already knew about the firewolf, then?”

“Firewolf? No, I’ve never heard of that.”

She went on to explain that in the traditions of some tribes, fire is considered a wolf and must be treated with respect. You must remember to thank the firewolf for its help in keeping you warm and cooking your food, for the positive benefits it brings, or it might turn on you.

“It’s really significant,” she said, “that you had that dream and had never heard of the firewolf before.”

I thought so, too, and was amazed. I wondered briefly if it might be a case of cryptomnesia, where one is exposed to an idea but doesn’t recall the exposure. But whatever it was, I was thrilled.

I thought I’d write about it for the folklore blog. I duly set about looking up the firewolf legends on the internet in order to provide some references. And therein lies the problem. I found pagans named Firewolf, fictional stories about fire wolves, games featuring fire wolves, so clearly the concept is in the zeitgeist. But I found almost nothing about American Indian traditions concerning fire and wolves. According to Native American Mythology A to Z by Facts on File, Incorporated, the Ute Indians believed Wolf brought fire to mankind:

Tales frequently involve the theft of fire from the being that possessed it. Often the bringer of fire was an animal or a bird, such as Beaver (Nez Perce), Coyote (many traditions), Deer (Nootka), Fox (Jicarilla Apache), Muskrat (Anishinabe), Turkey (Cherokee), or Wolf (Ute). Grandmother Spider (Spider Woman) stole fire for the Choctaw. In one Cherokee tale, a water spider was responsible for the gift of fire.

So, I don’t know what tradition my teacher was referring to. Indian mythology is not a monolith—each tribe has their own set of stories and beliefs. Sometimes there’s overlap, but each tradition is unique, and there are many, many stories out there. I just have no idea which one she meant.

And the cryptomnesia idea is playing through my mind again, once I saw that the Utes believed Wolf brought the first fire. My mother, you see, grew up on the Ute reservation. It’s entirely possible I heard something along the way.

Which does nothing to diminish the vividness and power of that dream. That remains a gift of the unconscious realm, the realm where all things are possible, where mysteries are far more important than answers.

IF

Mother, with Firewolf

Random quote of the day:

“Memory is sometimes like a malignant hedgehog, running out of the shadows to stab you with a thousand ridiculous little needles.”

—Kathleen Baker, “Monday Got Me,” blog: Kathleen, Kage and the Company, March 5, 2012

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

 heart4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“During the last years the suggestion has come to me from various quarters that I should do something akin to an autobiography. I have been unable to conceive of my doing anything of the sort. I know too many autobiographies, with their self-deceptions and downright lies, and I know too much about the impossibility of self-portrayal, to want to venture on any such attempt.”

—Carl Jung, letter to Aniela Jaffé, quoted in the Introduction to Memories, Dreams, Reflections

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

30 Oct
Get out your hankies. The 20 year old toddler:  http://yhoo.it/16mrLa8 

31 Oct
SHAME: We got home from the doctor late and I’m so exhausted I’m sitting in the house with the lights out hiding from the trick or treating kids. I usually love having them but it’s been a very stressful few weeks.

1 Nov
The Sears robot is still calling to say I need to reschedule the repair appointment for the dishwasher. I’ve called the Repair Desk several times. After complaining again to them that I don’t need repair I got yet another call from the repair scheduling robot and a tweet from SearsCares. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that SearsCares breaks down to Sear Scares. It’s been my experience with them lately.

2 Nov
Compassion fatigue.

3 Nov
The Amazon Prime goodie bag went into the dumpster along with a box of other clutter. The need to purge the Room of Doom is strong.

3 Nov
Having posted about my virtuous purging of junk I then opened a box of crap I ordered from American Science & Surplus:  http://www.sciplus.com/   They’re sort of a depository for unwanted but interesting junk. Kind of like my house. Left hand, right hand.

6 Nov
Color outside the lines, but read between them.

6 Nov
I shall rename myself The Great Phlegmingo. I’d really like to stop coughing now, weeks after getting the cold.

11 Nov
Another epic starring Bird, this time whistling Blue Danube and imitating my mother and I coughing:  http://bit.ly/1buZWwd 

11 Nov
Every once in awhile, after not reading one of your novels for a long time, you surprise yourself with how much you like it. Mostly it’s cringing, though.

16 Nov
Why do people adopt children only to abuse them or “give them back” when things get challenging? It sickens me.

17 Nov
The only thing worse than watching jury orientation online is watching it at the court house.

17 Nov
Sears now claims they never got the plumbing invoices I sent October 29. I think sarcasm is in order, don’t you?

18 Nov
I postponed jury duty because my legs are not up to the hilly walking conditions in downtown L.A.

18 Nov
In other science news: You are what you eat may not be just another outmoded hippy slogan: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/18/244526773/gut-bacteria-might-guide-the-workings-of-our-minds …

19 Nov
You know what I don’t need? Someone who doesn’t know a thing about the day to day of my life giving me advice about what I “should” do.

19 Nov
I stayed home from work today because my knee was in such bad shape I needed to sit with ice on it for as many hours as I could stand. It’s somewhat better.

20 Nov
Some days Mom is victorious over the microwave. Other days it is beyond her and I get these phone calls asking me to diagnose over the phone. On those days, I wish to be shot in the head. But not really, Universe! I’ve got too much to do.

20 Nov
I just bought a mystery solely because the detective is named Pamela Thompson.

21 Nov
Well, I’ve had my Christmas miracle. My mother apologized to me.

21 Nov
The only thing certain in this world are death, taxes, and Kardashians.

22 Nov
Dear PJ: you cannot hide the similes by using “as if” instead of “like.” We can still see them.

23 Nov
Apparently I needed to be punished more. My knee was just starting to get better and I fell at Ralphs and wrenched it worse.

26 Nov
Mom went back in the hospital this morning. She either has an infection or a persistent virus. Either way she’s spending the night for tests and evaluation. Thanksgiving seems cursed as something happens every year. But she seemed better tonight.  I hope that direction continues. (She came home November 27 and has been strong and doing well since.)

28 Nov
Hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was great. Carl cooked the entire meal and brought it over. Delish–and a wonderful surprise. I have the best friends in the world.

29 Nov
Mom remembers her dad going for supplies by horse and buckboard wagon to Watson UT when she was a kid. It’s now a ghost town.

30 Nov
My fantasy of buying a small smart TV lasted all of 24 hours before I got real. Too much other important stuff to spend the money on and we don’t need fripperies. Got caught up in Black Friday madness without even shopping. But sometimes being a responsible grown up sucks. 🙂

2 Dec
The guy in the Pinocchio suit stares into the abyss of his existence and despairs. Disneyland, 1961: pic.twitter.com/yPVGRvSkH0

2 Dec
This article encapsulates the caregiver situation quite well: http://bit.ly/1avcAck

The loneliness of the long distance carer. May I just add, **** you Amy F. Grant and Katie F. Couric, and anyone else who talks about the “privilege” without understanding the facts of working class people having to deal with this.

4 Dec
RIP Willis Ware, brilliant engineer and lovely, lovely man.

5 Dec
The resolution to a plot point that has been hanging unsolved for years finally came to me in the shower this morning. Unfortunately, I was in the shower, couldn’t write it down, and I was so busy after the shower I forgot, and now I can’t remember what it was or even which novel.

5 Dec
Adorably awesome! Lea Salonga and Darren Criss sang A Whole New World together at a bar: http://bit.ly/1kfEmiB

6 Dec
RIP Irreplaceable Nelson Mandela.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/nelson-mandela-becomes-first-politician-to-be-miss,34755/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=Default:1:Default …

6 Dec
I put on an episode of Finding Bigfoot last night. Mom fell asleep just after it started and woke just as it finished.

Mom: What happened?
Me: They didn’t find him.
Mom: Oh, okay then.

8 Dec
I keep buying books I haven’t got time to read.

8 Dec
And after two years of living as if this is a temporary situation it’s finally setting in that this is probably a long haul. I’m okay with that, but it’s a necessary shift in perspective that may allow me to handle things better.

8 Dec
“It’s not the Calvary coming to save us, ” said the sportscaster. Which is a whole different save than Kobe returning to the Lakers.

8 Dec
I read so slowly these days that I can go from comfort read to comfort read. No more waiting for release days. *sigh*

9 Dec
People and ghosts in rooms talking. *sigh*

11 Dec
Hurray for heated mattress pads!! My poor mom has been freezing, but she’s snug now. 🙂

11 Dec
Is the big reveal ever worth playing the reader? Does that answer ever have a yes? Why is there air?

12 Dec
Baby Pygmy Marmosets pic.twitter.com/eODml0ov3H

And now for something completely different… The Marmoset Song: http://youtu.be/4oiLfTnrC40 

12 Dec
When Mom gets really down she threatens to stop dialysis and I have to josh her out of it. Today would be one of those days.

13 Dec
I love it when people driving Smart cars make a really big dick traffic maneuvers. I originally said “really idiotic traffic maneuvers” but VRS decided to go with big dick and I left it that way.

13 Dec
Dear Sir: Most sentences should not be a paragraph long. Less is more. A tortured use of punctuation does not remedy this problem.

15 Dec
RIP to the great Peter O’ Toole.

16 Dec
Sears finally kept their promise. They’ve sent me a check to cover my plumbing costs for the Abominable Dishwasher Incident. Thanks, Sears.

What to do with aged photos when you’re cleaning out an old person’s home and none of the faces are familiar?

There’s a market for them in flea markets and online, of course. Probably other places as well, but that’s what I’m familiar with. I admit to being conflicted by the idea. There are buckets of photos my mother has held onto for years, ranging from the 1920s to near-present.  A lot of them are from World War II when my mother worked as a riveter at Douglas Aircraft. Periodically we go through some of them so she can tell me who the people are and I can pencil it in on the back, but some of the faces are beyond even her at this point. And even if I know their names…they have no context for me. They’re just names.

Eventually, someone will have to deal with these—if not me, then whoever cleans out my place when I’m gone. It seems disrespectful to sell them, yet that’s probably less disrespectful than consigning them to the trash. Which happens. A coworker told me of that very thing occurring when her friend cleaned out her parents’ home. I explained about the market for old photos and she was amazed.

“If only my friend had known!”

If only.

If only other people’s memories could be held as sacred as our own. But that’s the nature of time and change. We hold what we have inside our hearts and when our hearts fade, so do the memories.  As the African proverb says, “Every time an old person dies, a library burns to the ground.”

 

Random quote of the day:

“The heart’s memory is stronger than death: the mind’s memory is not.”

—Steven Forrest, Yesterday’s Sky

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Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Things grow in memory, in the dark; they shrink, lose their power, in reality.”

—Patricia A. McKillip, Solstice Wood

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Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Friends depart, and memory takes them
To her caverns, pure and deep.”

—Thomas Haynes Bayly, “Teach Me To Forget,” Songs and Ballads, Grave and Gay, published posthumously, 1844

 

You can read the entire poem behind the cut.

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

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