Aging, it’s all how you tweak it

How do you tell the difference between a happy middle aged woman and one who feels used up and left for dead?

  1.  Her calendar has gone from cocktail outings to waxing appointments
  2. She wears an infinity scarf not just cause it will stay put-but to remind her of her longevity
  3. She is not afraid to announce her best friend second to her husband is her regular grocery checker who ties for second with her cat/dog
  4. She talks to her boobs
  5. She has phased out jewelry and phased in expensive undergarments
  6. She openly admits how many sex partners she has had
  7. She is proud to announce the rare occasion she used the recipe from the box
  8. She buys flowers for herself at least once a month completely devoid of any hidden messages to her husband
  9. She works out so she will feel good rather than look good
  10. She sees age-discrimination in the workplace as an opportunity; a second chapter, “how to turn your hobby into cash flow?”

Ode to my dead Laptop

I know you’re there. I want you desperately to know I’ve been watching, waiting to participate, but unable to touch you. I am still mystified by how unresponsive I was to your many subtle hints. I was, in denial perhaps? The feeling is that one… ya know, where the world is muted, the plastic wrap is pulled tight, softening my view. I can see, but touch is what I need. With the barrier between us, you’re suddenly out of my grasp. There is but a tiny peep hole that lets in the light and the smell of rain. I have so much to say, how could it be you had to die for me to realize how special you were? If I was your breath, you were my lungs….. two weeks without writing, I feel like Bambi learning to walk on the ice, just now. Still, the familiar has become unfamiliar and I’m slipping a bit. What you should know is, next time you fade to black, with all of my words stuck inside you, Toshiba….I will be more prepared. I mean it, you scared me, you were unable to recognize my touch, my smell, my raspy voice, deeper than most women’s voices; husky, chocolaty deep; my greasy fingers soft with lavender and sticky from the lemon I squeezed in my tea, my occasional profanity jabbing the air as I make a key slip or hit a concept that gets me all jazzed up….electrified by how satiating it is to feel meaningful, and matter…. to the point I have to say out loud, FUCK, FECK, FETCH, YEAH! Or just cause no one is around and it cuts powerfully through the silence……you were completely impermeable to my wafts of creative mania, I felt so alone. It was when paired with your absence and Facebook breaking up with me, all under the guise of password “protection,” all 200 friends that took three years in the making, down the shoot…admittedly, I grappled with whether to plug back into all I’d nurtured in the microcosm of technology land. Should I reenter the world and it’s voyeuristic platform of modern communication? Is it good that all will know my every thought, mood and move, impulse intimately?…..Well, here I am, swiping, tapping, mistakenly closing windows, voice-activating; backing things up with clouds….hoping they are toxic, polluted by hackers, fluffy, not stormy, white clouds, in case I suddenly join you in the great intangible app in the sky….I should just get it over with now, Goodbye. I hate to be robbed of that word if my demise goes by the way of my laptop….for what it’s worth. We control freaks prefer to have the last word. Goodbye Toshiba, with my blog followers as my witness, I will get on without you. Change has gifted me new perspective. I will meet face with newness and change and take only from it what I need. I now know how important you all are… you-that fuel my inspirations, you- that ready my eager fingertips, you- whose click from wherever it is you are means so much to me “like.” (insert happy sigh). I almost taste it caramel sweetness. I receive it, as a good Catholic receives the host, readied tongue, crossing myself…qualifying my efforts with “So and so…thought that was” PRETTY AWESOME, ” vindicating me, resetting all to Good status. Translation “that is reeeally good.” I hope I too fill your emptier days..that my words are just what you need to hear to press on, and I promise not to take you for granted. You know, in case you suddenly blip out forever, you are that special. Take it from me, don’t hold it in. Pull out a piece of paper and pen and just complete your thought, cause they are precious…and should never be held captive inside of a dead computer. Go on write them down and file them, smudgy ink and all. Goodbye……for now that is.

The Allure of the Cliche’

 

                    Freidrich Nietche’ “ If there is something to pardon in everything, there is also something to condemn.”  

As a writer, I take seriously the teachings of the finer artists that came before me.   I try hard, really hard, to avoid use of “the forbidden cliché.”  Brian Klem puts it like this in his Writer’s Digest article:  “Clichés drive me bonkers, especially when it comes to writing. They are boring and abused and about as fun to read as the instruction manual of a Dustbuster.  Writing is supposed to be a creative process, and there’s nothing creative in rehashing some trite phrase that is so old it was probably used by Moses as he parted the Red Sea.”   You will find them in all books on writing  “Cut every cliché you come across,” advises author and editor, Sol Stein. “Say it new or say it straight” (Stein on Writing, 1995). The Rebel in me is like “Rules schmules!”…. About now, I hear the tiny voice of my internal conflict: “Lisa….. go ahead, try it.”   True to a writer’s instinct, I cannot help but embrace the rebellion that makes me so attracted to the cliché!   Its magnetism is uncanny, like the allure of forbidden connections, a flirtation between a popular cheerleader and that hunky boy who takes auto-shop and doesn’t even take a foreign language?!?!  They sneak glances…. it’s exploration may be worthwhile.  There is a story in the forbidden story.  Yes, I am a Capulet and the Cliché a Montague. Perhaps we just dance around the cliché’ with an opinion piece about cliché’s?   Then, slowly, very gingerly, I’ll un-wrap the cliché in front of you for all to see!

       First, some history about the Cliché, defined as “a trite or overused expression or idea, if it were a song if would be “Call me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen. According to Wikipedia: The word cliché is drawn from the French language. In printing, a cliché was a printing plate cast from movable type. This is also called a stereotype. When letters were set one at a time, it made sense to cast a phrase used repeatedly, as a single slug of metal.”Cliché” came to mean such a ready-made phrase. Others say, a”cliché” comes from the sound made when the molten stereotyping metal is poured onto the matrix to make a printing plate.
The point I want to argue is, wherever it started, as over-used as they may be, if you want to bring your readers to a place, the very same place; have them relate-simultaneously, a cliché’s will do it!   Overdone could be just the nuance you are trying to create?   

     Cliches’ that immediately come to mind are : “don’t assume, to assume is to make an ass out of U and Me.”   I don’t need to tell you I believe this one to be true in the pit of my being!    I would imagine you are calling forth a humiliating episode about now?  I once asked a new coworker, who worked as the head of women’s health and reproductive classes at the college a question nodding to her belly, she had quite a pooch showing out front, an obvious baby bump-Not! …. DOH!  The words froze when I heard her response, completely uncharacteristic of my extemporaneous self, I couldn’t utter a thing.  My skin flushed red like the mercury in an old thermometer. 

     Some clichés are like your childhood wubby or whatever you call that rag of a blanket you used to drag around. This one, I find that endearing.  Alfred Lord Tennyson’s said “tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”   So terribly romantic!!!  If you are sixteen and your heart has had to retract from a size of unimaginable inflation, to encapsulate all the love you’d filled it with for your first boy or girlfriend, perhaps you relate? We just had a moment created by a cliché.’  And after you are back from revisiting the memory of your first heartache, might I just add……Tennyson obviously never lay crying in a heap on a lovers doorstep until the sun went down, or had to get a restraining order on some icky stalker type?  I often wonder if they should have shown me that scene in Romeo and Juliet in the 8th grade?

      Cliché’s are often warm and familiar too. Some can be as comforting as a warm grilled cheese and cup of tomato soup placed in front of you by your mom.  This one is… “Never in the world does hatred cease by hatred; hatred ceases by love.”  The Buddha,   Yes I realize that one may teeter on a “quote,” as it is not overly used, and perhaps should be.  Still worth mentioning.  I just stopped for a second to put that one in my toolbox alongside my hammer and tape measure.
So in light of all that I really should have learned by now, this one, just doesn’t get enough credit.  “Always wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”  How can this not be calling forth a fresh idea?  As a reader, You are either thinking of all the places you stashed a fresh pair, or of the moments in your life, when you needed clean undies, BECAUSE of an accident. Perhaps you have even had to ditch them…..”yes accidents do happen.”   If you’ve interpreted this cliché  in a woman’s tone of voice, you understand what I’m getting at. 

    
Perhaps tis true, “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks,” I am an older writer. We tend to cling tight to the cliché because we don’t fight for originality as we once did.  Maturity and simplicity start to rule our lives; more than even the expert scholars whose books we cherish.  We have replaced our need to be profoundly original, and maybe too, we have just quit trying so hard.   The self righteousness in us somehow softens and the pain of a lesson seems to be “just what the doctor ordered.”  

  For more cliche advice I recommend http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/27/worst-cliches_n_3819046.html

 

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