Cristian Mihai reminded me on an important point today!
One of the most embarrassing things I can think of is grown up women arguing and bickering in public places, or any places, actually. I think everyone agree, so this is not an extraordinary view.
What’s extraordinary is that today I was one of those women! I can’t believe this, I’m partly ashamed and partly just high on life right now, and I don’t understand how I managed to get couth up in this!
My day started brilliantly, and I went to the gym early. It was only me and three women my age present, and I just said hello, and started on my work-out routine. When the tree women, all around 40+ in age, all engaged in a back talking conversation, I really tried to keep out of it, and just continued my program.
The topic of their conversation was the young and beautiful receptionist at the gym. She’s a foreigner, 22 years old and has just recently married the owner of the gym. The women had plenty to say about every aspect of her, and I felt bad. Their narrow views highlighted the stupidity of their gossip conversation, and I told myself just to ignore them. I tried, but at one point I rolled my eyes, and there I was engaged…
We were quickly arguing, the three of them against me, because I pointed out the fact that I didn’t know the receptionist, and neither did they.
I said something about her being young, beautiful and talented, and asked if they weren’t just a little bit jealous and bitter? Yeah, that didn’t help.
A recap of the conversation from that point would be like this:
Woman 1: What the h……#¤%%%(&¤%& do you mean by that, who the f…. &%/¤%(¤ do you think you are.
Woman 2: /()%&(()=?)/?¤%&/#&/%()%)
Woman3: You’r that f………….¤%&/#/% writer, aren’t you? Thinking you are so f…..&/¤%&()&=/= better than everybody else…
Me: I don’t see any point in continuing this conversation, when I speak to grown-ups I expect them to use full sentences.
Woman 1: What the h….#¤%%%(&¤%& do you mean by that, who the f…….&%/¤%(¤ do you think you are?
Woman 2: /()%&(()=?)/?¤%&/#&/%()%)
Woman 3: Me jealous on that white trash? Oh you are f… ¤%&/#/% kidding me, patronizing b…¤%&//%(&&& We are too though for you, you’re afraid of us!
Me: Not at all, you all both speak and act like trolls, and as I said when I speak to grown-ups I expect them to use full sentences.
Woman 1: I use my %&//&/%&¤# swear words to express myself
Me: that’s just plain stupid.
Woman 1: What the f… ##”%&/%/&&), are you saying I’m stupid?
Me: No, you are saying you are stupid! If you need to express yourself with bad language like that, it only means that you don’t have the vocabulary to express your feelings. And that means that you haven’t read enough. And living in this country (that’s a punch because they were very upset that the receptionist was a foreigner) and not been reading enough, well that’s just plain stupid…
At this point in the conversation, they were all screaming abusive things to me, and I called them out on their hypocritical gossip, and proposed that they all went to the library… I do believe I also called them clowns and apes, I asked if they had run off from the circus or the zoo!
As I left, one of them yelled: “Oh, the fat writer is going home to write about us!” I know I should have gone, but I did turn around, saying sassy: “Oh no, I just write about important stuff”
I know the wise thing would have been to say nothing. The right thing would have been to say what I said in the start, and then nothing more.
I disagreed in their gossiping, and my reaction was honest. I also stand by my words of grown up women using bad language and swearing. I think that is so disgusting, and as I repeatedly said stupid…
I know I should not have rolled my eyes at them. Calling them trolls, apes and clowns, is not the intelligent thing to do, nor is it who I want to be. But rather that person, than one of the grown up gossip girls….
I know I said I didn’t want to write about them, but this is more to shake this morning off, writing it off as a paranormal event at the gym. It’s a little bit about my hurt feelings. And it is a lot about integrity and standing up to the bullies.
And one of the most embarrassing things I can think of is still grown up women arguing and bickering in public places. I’m one of those…
by Cheryl Strayed
When my mother died, I stripped her naked. Plush round belly and her pale breasts rising above. Her arms were black-and-blue from all the needles going in. Needles with clear liquid and needles that only the nurses had a hold of and other needles gripping constantly into her, held tight with tape to the translucent skin of her hand or the silk skin of her wrist. And not one of those needles trying to save her. I picked her dead hand up. It did not want to be held. Her skin was dry and cracked and stabbed. When she died the nurse took the needle out forever. But I wanted it back, and eventually I would get it.
The day they told us my mother had cancer I was wearing green. Green pants, green shirt, green bow in my hair. My mother had sewn this outfit for…
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As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I simply LOVE Zenos Frudakis Freedom Sculpture. There is something so inspirational by artists that manage to touch me – and many others- in so many levels.
Earlier this year another sculpture of freedom emerged when One Woman Rising, The Chelko Foundation Art Project was installed topping the hill on Freedom Park at the intersection of Freedom Parkway and Moreland Avenue in Atlanta, GA.
Fabricated by Atlanta artisan Phil Proctor , assisted by Geo Brenick (Geo4Design), the abstract sculpted dancing woman speaks to the celebration of woman’s release from bondage and her dynamic move into a new creative space. The statue radiates the grace of the feminine form and is painted by World Champion body painters, Scott Fray and Madelyn Greco (Living Brush Bodypainting).
Proctor’s sculpture shows the woman dancing and freeing herself from mental and physical bondage and into freedom.
I so enjoy this beautiful dancing woman who graces the hill… she is a symbol of empowerment.
I simply LOVE Zenos Frudakis Sculpture. And even more now that I’ve read his statement of his vision for this work:
Zenos’ statement about his vision of the sculpture
I wanted to create a sculpture almost anyone, regardless of their background, could look at and instantly recognize that it is about the idea of struggling to break free. This sculpture is about the struggle for achievement of freedom through the creative process.
Although for me, this feeling sprang from a particular personal situation, I was conscious that it was a universal desire with almost everyone; that need to escape from some situation – be it an internal struggle or an adversarial circumstance, and to be free from it.
I began this work in a very traditional sculptural manner by creating a small model in clay called a macquette. The purpose of beginning in this manner is to capture the large action and major proportions of the figure within the overall design without any details to detract from the big idea. Another reason for not having details and for working on a small model only a few inches in height is that the small armature within it, holding the clay, is more easily manipulated, allowing for much greater flexibility in developing a concept. For example, an arm, a leg or a head can be pushed around without any concern for obliterating details, such as a nose or a finger.
The macquette is the original mass of clay where a concept is born and from which it grows and develops. This was important later when I enlarged the sculpture from several inches long to 20 feet long, and I retained in the larger work a sense that all the conceptual material, its forms, focus and development sprang from this rough idea. The work metamorphosized, in the way that we do.
Although there are four figures represented, the work is really one figure moving from left to right. The composition develops from left to right beginning with a kind of mummy/death like captive figure locked into its background. In the second frame, the figure, reminiscent of Michaelangelo’s Rebellious Slave, begins to stir and struggle to escape. The figure in the third frame has torn himself from the wall that held him captive and is stepping out, reaching for freedom. In the fourth frame, the figure is entirely free, victorious, arms outstretched, completely away from the wall and from the grave space he left behind. He evokes an escape from his own mortality.
In working on the large scale sculpture, I was satisfied that those who drove by getting a quick look at it would see the big picture: that it was about escape. I was also concerned that those who worked in the building and who passed the sculpture frequently would have something more to see. There was a lot of empty space between the figures on the wall, which I saw as an opportunity to develop further ideas.
It was important to me that the sculpture have more than one theme going on at once. One of the other major ideas incorporated in the work is that the very process of creating the sculpture is clearly revealed in the work itself. The maquette is cast into the sculpture in the lower left hand corner. In the lower right corner is the cast of the sculptor’s hand holding the sculpture tool with two rolls of clay also cast in bronze. Throughout the background of the Wall, I have rolled out the clay and pressed it with my fingers so that my fingerprints are all over the sculpture. I have not hidden how I have made the piece. In fact, the whole idea of the macquette is enlarged so that all the figures in the background look like a giant macquette. And at the same time, as the figures move from left to right, I have shown how figures are developed when you are sculpting from the rough to the more finished product.
Elements of the sculpture trade beside the tools that are cast into the sculpture are calipers both for their use in measuring and their reference to Protagoras’ words “Man is the measure of all things.”
Also cast into the sculpture is an anatomical man, traditionally used as a reference by sculptors. Many of the heads and figures on the wall, some in the round and some in relief, are shown partially sculpted, revealing the process of creation.
Something else I have done with the sculpture is that I have created a one man show of my work. I have always admired Rodin’s Gates of Hell. I similarly thought I would incorporate many sculptures into the wall where it was suitable.
Like T.S. Eliot and other artists, I have put many personal elements in my work. My friend Philip, a sculptor who died of AIDS, created a work that I included in Freedom because he often expressed his wish to have it in a public space. He did not live long enough to accomplish this himself. My cat, who lived with me for 20 years, my mother, father, and my self portrait are in the work. It is obvious which face is mine because there is a ballooned phrase coming from my mouth with the word “freedom”, written backwards, making it clear that the face was sculpted in a mirror. I see the whole Wall sculpture as a kind of illusion akin to Alice’sThrough the Looking Glass.
The sculpture contains an original Duane Hanson — a bronze cast of my own hands that Duane cast for me as a gift.
Much of what I did with this sculpture has to do with taking traditional forms and combining them in non-traditional ways, forming a postmodern sensibility. For example, I dropped a wax cast of my father’s bust from two or three feet in height so that it broke into large pieces. I cast those into the wall in a fractured manner over another face, an old work I found in a vat of clay purchased from a sculptor who had long ago died.
I have hidden many things in the background for people who see the sculpture more than once to discover, such as a cast of coins – a nickel and two pennies, another nickel and two pennies, and two quarters and a penny. These represent not only the relationship between money and art, but the numerals 7-7-51, my birth date.
It is important to me that the public interact with the sculpture, not just intellectually and emotionally but physically. I have created a space in which I have written“stand here” so that people can place themselves inside the sculpture and become part of the composition.
In the end, this sculpture is a statement about the artist’s attempt to free himself from the constraints of mortality through a long lasting creative form.
If you want to read more, go to Zenos Frudakis page here.
Two years ago, I started writing on this blog as a reaction on the terrible terrorist attack in our country on July 22.2011. I needed a place to went my feelings and to tell the world that we were all right. My family was contacted by friends all over the world, who wanted to give their support and loving concern. I needed a place to react, and I did it by this blog. It was the beginning.
I wanted to write in English, mostly because I went through rough period, and needed to focus on something fun and challenging. It was also a way to continue keeping in touch with friends and family members living abroad.
Then I accidental made a lot of American mothers angry with me, when I wrote a blogpost stating that the children pageant competitions had gone way too far. I had just watched an episode of the reality show “Toddlers and Tiaras” and saw a magazine cover ask “Have they gone too far?” When I wrote that this was the “understatement of the year” I kind of got a lot of angry comments. And my blog got a lot of readers.
My blog, EllenGry, has never been in a clear niche, it’s been a personal blog, but not private. Last year I wrote more about the process of writing, and publishing, at the same time that I got to outlive a dream, and my first book was published.
I started a Norwegian blog, staying stricter to one (or two) niches, writing about the process of writing and about books more in general. Since my book was Norwegian, I needed a place to write about it in Norwegian. Having said that, I continued to share articles on this blog, about the book, and the attention I got.
When there was a historical package that would be open after 100 years, I wrote a little article about it, and got a lot of attention, creating my “best ever views” – day.
I also got a lot of attention for my Random act of Kindness period.
Lately I feel I’ve been blogging more trough pictures and photos.
I like that, but it was strangely fulfilling to write the Open Letter last week. I do like to write about childhood memories, and I think that some of my articles get great response just because I write about normal situations that people recognize and remember.
So here I am, two years of blogging. My blog has had over 61 000 views, and I have 230 followers.
I am grateful for each and one of you, that have read my blog, and I will continue writing.
As a Happy Anniversary gift to my readers, I will give away two exemplars of my book, “3898 ord om livet” witch translates to “3898 words of life” I would recommend that you are able to read Norwegian to participate, but that’s up to you. Google translate might work on my poems…
To participate in this Anniversary Giveaway you simply leave a comment. The winners will be selected by lottery on Saturday September 1.st.
Dear New House Owner!
In a few days, I am going to give you the five keys to your new home. Actually, there are six keys, and you will have them all, but the last key is my brother’s, so he’ll bring it to you. I know you are a small, young family, so the six keys will probably feel a bit too much.
I wanted to write this letter to tell you the tale of the six keys. Because when we meet, I expect to smile a lot, and talk a little. Talk as little as possible, smile as much as possible, and deliver the keys.
There are six keys to your new home, because this house has been our family home since 1985, February 1st. I was the only child still living at home when we moved in. I decorated my new room in pink and white, and got to use my brother’s old furniture. My sister-in-law helped me repaint them in white, and I remember how proud I was to put all my books into a bright newly painted shelf.
My brother didn’t need his furniture, because he went to university, and lived in a student dorm the next couple of years. His key will look neutral when you receive it tomorrow, but when he got it from my dad, it was chained to a little, perfect Swiss army knife. I remember feeling a bit jealous of that key ring with the knife, but it was understandable that my brother got it. He was staying away from home for the first time of his life.
My key was on a green key ring witch someone had gotten in the bank. There had been a picture with the bank logo on it, but I managed to open the key ring and change the photo. I had to glue it back together, because it wasn’t meant to open. That’s why I went true my high school years with my key attached to the photo of Morten Harket, the lead singer of the Norwegian band A-ha.
My eldest brother had been out of the home for seven years when we moved. He never used his key, because whenever he and his wife, and later children, came for a visit, he always rang the bell. And my parents were always at home. They knew he was coming.
The forth key had a red bow on it, and eleven month a year it was hanging in the key closet. My sister lived a long way from home, but spent her every summer holiday visiting with her husband and children. They also came for Christmas, as often they could afford it. They hardly used the key, though. My parents were always home when my sister were home, they didn’t want to miss a minute of her time.
My dad was the owner of the only key that had an additional key attached to it, the key to the garage. It’s still hanging from the old key ring he had purchased in Scotland. If you look closely, you can see the A from Aberdeen carved into the leather.
My mom’s key had sparkly rhinestone on the key ring. I remember playing with that key ring, pretending the stones were diamonds for my dolls. She used to keep her key in her handbag, and didn’t use it to much. My dad always had his key available from his pocket, since she searched for hers in all the different rooms of her beautiful handbags.
My student brother used his key over the weekends, when he came to stay with us, to be able to spend time with his friends. He used his key to get in late at night, or early in the morning. I remember my mom always asked when he had arrived, and his answer was constantly two o’clock.
There you have the tale of the six keys, the early years.
Later, some of the keys got more work to do.
The key with a red bow on, were put to more use after my mom got sick. My sister came home on a more frequent basis, and added a trip during autumn and spring. She came with all of the family at Christmas too.
My eldest brother started using his key after my mom continued her life in a wheelchair. My younger brother finished his studies and started working. He kept using his key during the weekend, but not staying out with his friend. When he left the house, it would be to keep my dad company running errands.
When my mom was hospitalized, we all used our keys to fetch what she needed or wanted. And we took turns in helping out with the garden and general things needed done. Since my dad rarely left his wife’s side, we all needed to step up our game. When the grass was cut or the living room was dust-free, we spent a moment on the balcony, admiring the beautiful view.
For the last four years, I’ve had the rhinestone key ring and key in a little box. I found it in mom’s handbag when I emptied it after her funeral.
A couple of months ago, I emptied the key closet after my dad moved into his new apartment. We moved everything he needed to the apartment. And we took care of all the rest. I put the key with the red bow into the same box as the one with the rhinestones.
The last thing we moved out of the house, was moms piano. We stored it in the garage for the night before the moving company came to drive it to my sister in the south of France. That’s why I have my dad’s key, he never asked for it back. I don’t think he want to see the empty house. I don’t think he should. My eldest brother has not been back, either. I have his key.
In a couple of days my brother and I are going to meet with you, and give you our six keys. Along with the keys you’ll get a big house were you can start collecting your memories.
And I’ll keep the box that now contains the several old key rings and one single red bow.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
This week I’ve had my two young nephews visiting, and we’ve followed this advice of Ghandi. The first day we almost had to go to the hospital for minor injuries, but the rest of the time we went to places were we could explore.
The interesting Risør Saltwater Aquarium, on the quay in front of the Risør Hotel, is a small showcase of saltwater fish, crustaceans and shellfish common to Norway’s south coast. It is the only salt water aquarium in the region, and contains many unusual species of fish found in the region. A fun experience for everyone, and my nephews and I spent a whole day there.
We used significant time fishing for crabs and we were in the wet-lab for a long while as well. We saw a film were a lobster changed his frock, so to speak, and we learned a lot.
The fact that we could read the information about the habitants in the fish tanks on small screens, were exciting and a great learning possibility, in a playful way, for my nephews. The aquarium really presented an exciting and educational experience for us all, both adults and kids.
I watched your every breath,
And prayed that each one wasn’t your last.
The time we got to share together,
Went by too quick…Too fast.
As your last breath grew closer,
We lay there peacefully together.
My heart continually breaking,
Because I wanted you forever.
Then there it was,
Your final breath of air.
I didn’t want to believe it,
This is so cruel and not fair.
I held your beautiful face,
And prayed you’d breath again.
I wasn’t ready for you to go,
I couldn’t admit that this was the end.
But then I realized that you were now in peace,
And not suffering anymore.
You were beginning the life of an Angel,
And your body would no longer be sore.
I slowly got up,
I wanted so much to stay.
I leaned over and gave you one more kiss,
It was so hard to walk away