Crazy Love – I Want You for All Time

Flowers Red poppies blossom on wild field.

“And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time…” Jimmy Webb, Lyrics Wichita Lineman

I just finished watching the second season of Ozark and I can’t stop thinking about it and the incredibly sad love story that emerged from it’s twisted, murky depths. Am I referring to Marty and Wendy Byrde or Wyatt and Charlotte? Nope. I am referring to the latter day tragedy of Jacob and Darlene Snell.

Make no mistake, I recognize that Darlene and Jacob are evil people and after season one, you want them both to die long, painful deaths with the faces of their victims, including all the addicts they facilitate coming before their eyes as the life leaves them. You are certain by the end of season one that Darlene is insane in the Jane Eyre/ Mrs. Rochester kind of way – she should be locked in the attic with a plate of food shoved under the door. This show is Breaking Bad good. The twists are the delicious kind: whiplash, you don’t see them coming, and they come in nearly every episode. But I am not going into the plot of Ozark, I was discussing a love story.

At the end of season one, we see just a glimmer of Jacob’s dawning realization that Darlene has completely gone to a new level of crazy. When next we see the Snell’s, the actions Jacob takes to try and rein in Darlene show that Jacob does not really know where Darlene’s heart (if you can call it that in a demon) lies. He misjudges their bond and a crack ensues. Something has shifted somewhere and he missed it. But, again, I do not want to go into specific spoilers because this post is about the love story.

For a moment, let’s let’s separate the milk from the cream. Let’s leave the poppy fields and the heroin distribution and murder and treachery to the side for a moment. Let’s just look at the marriage of Darlene and Jacob Snell and wonder at their staying power. These are two people who seemingly have what we all set out to achieve when we marry. They are still intricately entwined with one another, still in love, that kind of love, in their early 70’s. Couples who can hold onto that are lucky. Maybe they have worked at it, but I believe in some cases which are much more rare than we know, some are perfectly matched, the gods or stars or biorhythms came together for these two people and all the early parts of being in love remain intact.

While we are repelled by the Snell’s we are mesmerized by Darlene’s insanity. We kind of like and even admire Jacob’s ability to recite wise aphorisms and his insightful common sense moralizing. But the Snell’s are like poisonous snakes and we are never sure where they will strike. Yet, even in season one, we can see their bond and marvel at it.

It is the brilliant prologue scene in season 2, episode nine that adds the poignancy to the Snell’s. As the episode opens we see a young Jacob as a returning Vietnam veteran who is obviously bothered by his juvenile companion’s silly questions about whether or not it was “exciting over there.” In waltzes a young Darlene with the sexy sway the older Darlene still possesses and sweeps Jacob off his feet and it dawns on us that everything he has become was set in motion by this siren. The young Darlene is as insane as the older one but it takes him a lifetime to realize this fact and therein lies the tragedy of this love story.

This well plotted background snippet is cleverly mixed with the plaintiff tones of Glen Campbell singing Wichita Lineman, the music may be the magic ingredient that ultimately makes the Snell love story poignant, in a Bonnie and Clyde kind of way. Everything becomes clear, we are given the opportunity to see that Jacob wasn’t always evil. We witness the fall into a deep, soul shattering love. It’s hard to accept the dream of true love being gifted to two such awful people.

They are cleverly written characters. Just like Breaking Bad, Ozark is able to take criminals and make you root for them, like them, grudgingly.  In season two, we begin to hope that Jacob is going to be able to coral Darlene and we see very subtly that he is not only losing that battle, we see him realize he is going to have to eventually deal with her decisively. Meanwhile, Darlene is thinking the same thing for different crazy reasons. They start to fall apart. It is almost sad and we are very disappointed in the eventual outcome of this long, “successful” marriage. Let’s just say the devil wins.

“And I need you more than want you. And I want you for all time…

This is the First Day of the Rest of My Blog

Depositphotos_26743721_xl-2015

There was a very popular saying in the early 1970’s, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” I had a poster of this adage hanging in my bedroom. It was a black and white fuzzy photograph of a person walking down a beach. The text was swoopy script down one side. I loved that poster and at the age of 11 or 12, I was deeply moved by the saying. No one seems to know who first coined the phrase. Various searches on the internet seem to point to it being the result of the 1960’s drug culture in California, which sounds about right. It is also thought to have evolved into being a quasi religious, spiritualist saying.  At the time, being a 12 year old, I just thought it was BEAUTIFUL and MEANINGFUL and that sensibly, it was basically true. The saying has aged in the same way Burt Bacharach songs have aged, pleasant but syrupy.

I started my blog back in the early 21st century enthusiastically. It was a great way to write things that felt silly to write in a journal. I loved it. No one really read my blog except relatives and some very nice people who found it somehow. I did not care. It was out there for someone to stumble upon. I myself have stumbled upon delightful blogs with apparently few readers. It seemed to be a worthwhile endeavor. I loved spending a Saturday morning putting a post together. I was just a part time blogger.

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As it happens, I was also an early Facebook joiner and loved it as well. Gradually, as Facebook became more and more popular and started behaving like a public utility in my life: turn on the lights, run the water, check Facebook, my poor old blog just drifted away. I no longer spent time on Saturday mornings thinking thoughts about a book I had finished or a movie or TV show we had watched or a trip I had taken and sharing it with the universe. I was busy throwing off what I hoped were clever one liners or pictures or what passes for my achievements on Facebook throughout any given day.

Without going into what I have personally decided are the reasons or psychology behind the Facebook addiction, I made myself stop. It was a bit like going on a diet. I would do really well for a week and then falter and fall back into the habit. I found leaving Facebook was really hard. With much effort, I have gone almost a year without looking. I have deactivated and will soon delete my account. I’m almost a year clean. The final push for me was when a friend died and their page became this maudlin place for people to EASILY give condolences. I stress the word EASILY. Facebook has made birthdays too easy, holidays too easy.  It’s nothing to say Happy Birthday on Facebook. It requires little effort since Facebook has sent you a reminder.

Returning to the friend who died, I noticed something odd. I saw many people condoling who had never, ever commented on this deceased friend’s posts when they were alive. I was a frequent commenter and supporter of the posts this friend made. They had a delightful sense of humor. But the page was now filled with “friends” who I had never seen hanging about. And while it was nice these people seemed moved to add their sympathy, it horrified me. I imagined dying and all the people who I was “friends” with -who never said boo to me year in and year out – suddenly showing up to say what a great gal I was. So I quit. That day.

One day, a while after quitting Facebook, I received an email notice saying I had received a comment on this blog. After I got over the shock of someone actually finding this old thing, it made me take a look at Paraphernalia. As I re-read some of the things I had blogged about and realized I had forgotten I had ever written, I was filled with an urge to reclaim my blogging self. It brought back to me the fact that I had had once mused about all sorts of paraphernalia (hence the name of this blog) and so I decided I needed to try again. I am a bit rusty, but maybe with practice, kind of like doing scales on a piano, I will regain my blogger footing.

This is the first day of the rest of my blog.

Could this be Jane After All??

Literary mysteries abound.  I came across this article this morning about the disputed portrait of Jane Austen as a 13-year-old girl. The painting is supposed to have been painted by Ozais Humphry when Jane was visiting relatives in 1789. However,at some point in the 1940’s experts deemed this could not be Jane because the style of dress suggested it was painted after 1800. However, some new technology has revealed not only the name of the painter, Ozias Humphry and the date, 1789, but also the name of the subject … JANE AUSTEN! I am awash in literary mysteries these days and I am loving it!

So, how to explain the style of dress? In 1789, grown women were dressing like this:

But, how were children attired? Yes, children were usually dressed as mini adults, but I did a little research using Marie Antoinette’s,  daughter, Marie Therese, who was just a couple of years younger than Jane (born in 1778 to Jane’s 1775) and here is what I came up with:

I am beginning to wonder if maybe this IS Jane. What a lovely little face. I also think there is a resemblance between the face in the portrait and this face:

 Look at the eyebrows! The tip of the nose! Remember, the sketch was made by an amateur, Cassandra Austen, Jane’s sister.

I am beginning to think this might be Jane after all! What a wonderful revelation.

What’s in a Name? That by any other name WOULD BE MORE INTERESTING.

Edward de Vere - 17th Earl of Oxford

I feel a bit like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. I am a little rusty at this blogging thing. I am a little rusty at this writing thing as well. I get up every morning and say to myself, “I am going to do all of things I love today,” but while it may not  be necessarily true that there aren’t enough hours in the day, it is true I do not have the stamina to utilize all of them!

I have been thinking about names all month. Ever since I saw the movie “Anonymous.” If you do not know what this movie is about, in a nutshell it is about Shake-speare. Not the man from Stratford who is the accepted and enshrined Shakespeare of Anne Hathaway’s cottage. No. This movie is the bull horn for an alternate theory to the identity of the man who pondered “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” And it wasn’t Will Shakspur, it was Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, at least that is what a growing number of dissenters say.

When the movie was first released last fall, I resisted it. I had heard the vague whisperings about the Bard not being the Bard for years. I had also heard the stock responses from Shakespearean scholars and believing blindly in ivy towers and scholarship, I was sure they knew what they were talking about. But, about seven years ago, I read Peter Ackroyd’s biography about Shakespeare. It was a great book about what was going on during the lifetime of the man from Stratford, but there wasn’t much there, there concerning old Will himself. It was a lot of “he was most likely here, he possibly did this and did that” and “we can assume he…” I remember thinking at the time – goodness, we certainly don’t know much about him.

So, last fall the movie premiered and I felt a faint rustling about this. But, I still thought it was most likely a bunch of hooey. You see, the movie Elizabeth was hooey, sort of like Braveheart was hooey and while I love the costumes in these historical films, I am tired of Hollywood messing with history, trying to fit the events of say,1560, into the politically correct sensibilities of the 21st century. I resisted going.

However, curiosity got the cat and I was longing for something besides Transformers or the usual Hollywood pap and I rented it (on my amazing Roku – best invention since sliced bread) and I watched it.

Perhaps it was the opening with Sir Derek Jacobi that made me want to find out more. He leant a certain credence to the whole idea that this Shakespeare authorship issue is indeed an issue. If a Shakespearean actor can appear in a movie, not as a character in the movie, but as a modern actor DOUBTING the accepted identity of Shakespeare, well, kind of like the movie Jerry Maquire, they had me at hello.

So, I have gone off on a book reading spree. Three at once! And a googling spree – There are many great places to learn about this without buying a single book. Here is a great place to start http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com/, and I will give you one more so you won’t be overwhelmed: http://politicworm.com/blog/. I am now a believer. And you can’t talk me out of it and here is why: if de Vere wrote the plays, they make more sense and are far, far more fascinating. Kind of like Emily Dickinson’s poems are fascinating because when read against the events of her life, they take on dual meanings.

I find myself picking up the plays and actually reading them! I have always disliked Hamlet, but since discovering de Vere, I now find it wonderfully fascinating since it is basically an allegory for his early life. It even includes the character Polonius, who just happened to mimic his father in law, the great William Cecil, Elizabeth I’s chief advisor. Even the scholars agree on this point. So, how did a rube from Stratford who we can’t even prove went to school know these intimate things about the chief councilor to the Queen of England? And how on earth did he get away with writing it? Hmm?

All of the Italy plays seem more relevant since I now know that de Vere spent a great deal of time in Italy in the very towns which populate Shakespeare’s plays. This is what clinched it for me. It is like an amazing mystery, with piles of circumstantial evidence. Trials have been decided on much less.

So, what is in a name? I would say it is the difference between some nice plays and some really juicy gossip and the inner workings of a totalitarian government seen through the eyes of a whistle-blower, that’s what. And it is juicy. It makes the plays better and I think the scholars need to take the splinter out of their eyes and get crackin’ on some real scholarship and end all the “we can assume” nonsense.

If you want to read more: http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Another-Name-Edward-Oxford/dp/B001G8WETU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339242311&sr=8-1&keywords=mark+anderson+shakespeare

or http://www.amazon.com/The-Mysterious-William-Shakespeare-Reality/dp/0939009676/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339242364&sr=1-1&keywords=charlton+ogburn

The Zen of Pie Dough – A Thanksgiving Memory

Me Making Pie in 1959

The Zen of Pie Dough

(click above to read)

I wrote this about seven years ago. It came to me while I was making the Thanksgiving pies. I remember thinking the words while I rolled out my pie dough and worried I would forget it, so I wiped my hands on my apron, grabbed a legal pad and wrote it out in one fell swoop! The hard drive with the original piece crashed long ago, but I was fortunate enough to have it published – here is a PDF.

For Every Bird a Nest…

I call this blog Paraphernalia for a reason. It isn’t necessarily about one single topic. Anyone who scrolls through the whole blog knows that in addition to my reading and writing interests, I love Jane Austen and the Brontes and FASHION PLATES and anything 19th century! Sometimes I take a wide turn and enter the land of whimsy and share a fairy newsletter. I love visual things. Pretty pictures.

All of these things have percolated in my brain and while I try to finish my writing project, something I feel I just can’t post here quite yet, I am dipping my toes in the design world a bit. I have been taking some digital design classes and I think I am going to document some of my progress here because that is what I am doing right now.

I have a backlog of books to write about, but now, these visual adventures are what have me engaged and happy. Be prepared for a lot of pretty pictures. I will be posting my design concoctions here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lady of Shalott – Just Because I Love it So

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
	  To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
	  The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
	  Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
	  The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil'd
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
	  Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
	  The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
	  Down to tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
	  Lady of Shalott."

	     Part II.

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
	  To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
	  The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
	  Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
	  Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
	  Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
	  The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
	  And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
	  The Lady of Shalott.

	     Part III.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
	  Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
	  Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle-bells rang merrily
	  As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
	  Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
	  As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
	  Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
	  As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
	  Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
	  She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
	  The Lady of Shalott.

	     Part IV.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale-yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
	  Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
	  The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse--
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance--
With a glassy countenance
	  Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
	  The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right--
The leaves upon her falling light--
Thro' the noises of the night
	  She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
	  The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
	  Turn'd to tower'd Camelot;
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
	  The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
A corse between the houses high,
	  Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
	  The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
	  All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
	  The Lady of Shalott."