Pocket Full of Mumbles

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Monday, August 08, 2005

A Letter to Mary Angel

Dearest Mary Angel,

I'm been intrigued by a CD I've been listening to the last couple days. I first bought the disc last year but never really listened to it until the other day. It's by a group who call themselves "Dead Can Dance," and their name is pretty indicative of the tone and fiber of their style -- Very modern and Old World rolled into one, with dark and exotic themes. Their lyrics are more poetry than the traditional fare. The following is a quick sample, and oddly enough, seem to fit perfectly within the scope of a search I began years ago. It is from "Song of Sophia"

With one wish we wake the will
within wisdom.
With one will we wish the wisdom
within waking.
Woken, wishing, willing.

There is truth in those five lines -- someone else's truth for sure, but truth nonetheless. Awaken from your sleep and build your dreams; There lies wisdom! Tragically, there are very few people in the world who are truly awake. I often doubt the veracity of my waking life; am I truly awake? Or do I sleep with untold thousands? But enough of this!

I knew a girl once who changed me in the most fundamental of ways, who altered all my perceptions. And I never got a chance to truly thank her. I find it hard to believe 21 years have passed since I last saw her, and it surprises me how her influence is still in evidence in my attitudes toward life and living. I know I will likely never see her again, and perhaps that's as it should be, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to remember her to you, and to anyone reading, that you and they may know the impact you had on my life.

You have softened more than a few rough edges in me during the years I've spent writing you -- I began in '97. The sad part is that those rough edges were not always there. They were soft edges grown jagged and sharp through bitterness and hardship, of years spent in this self-imposed exile of mine. But I thank you, and it occurs to me I owe thanks to a good many people.

All those "good many people" have had a hand in making me who I am. I'm sure I'll forget a few, indeed many, but this is simply an exercise in thankfulness and the ones I do forget will surely understand, and know that I thank them as well. So, to the following people, real or fictitious, I extend my thanks and gratitude.

God. Mom and Dad. Grandma, Grandpa and the long line of lives that preceded them. Anna, Danielle, Uncles Bob, Steve, Jim, Clare. Aunts Simone, Martha, Gloria, Thao and Lily. Cousins Heidi, Little Jimmy, and Charlie. Teresa Troutman, Leo O'Brian, Frank Alter, Dennis Banka, Stephanies Dean and Breeden, Gloria and both Pauls Dean. Mike "Where's-my-moon," The blonde girl Debbie Schoensiegle who wrote on paper,"YKPGFYA," whose mother had me detained by M.P.'s for daring to like her daughter. To Troop 88 and Mr. Peoples. Scott and Eric Mersnick, and survival campouts. Laura Bearnard, Stacy, Patricia, and Bruce Rhodes. Nancy Rigdon and her brother John. Marc Marley and Lori Sutherland, who spent a memorable night bed with me playing monopoly [sigh, what was I thinking?]. Rodney Shueman, for my first lesson in complacency. Eddie, Kenneth, Kevin and Sharon Trainor. Vince Kasprowicz and his whirling dervish. Sweet little Emily. To the woman who held me at my fathers funeral as I cried; she who was once my step-sister. Mr. Lovrikovic for teaching me that hard second lesson called "Complacency." David and Peaches Skinner and Northside Baptist Church, without whom I may never have come to God. Delilah Dean, who taught me it is better to respect a woman and gain her friendship than anything else I might hope to acquire. Les and Rebecca Grice. Mike Salow and Clint Menacof. Jim Stoller, who shared a jail cell with me on my twenty-ninth birthday, and owns the first and only painting I've sold in exile. Bradford Woods who is somewhere in America enlightening the masses. Peter Paulie, once-time editor of Colorado Springs only daily newspaper, who was nothing in not an encouragement to me. R.D. Golden for teaching me how not to treat a woman. James Bell for teaching me how not to treat a friend. Iota Gamma for showing me what brotherhood is not. Carol Pizza, for teaching me forgiveness. Mary Angel, for teaching me tenderness. Cristal Conley for teaching me the darker things. James Pigneri, Sylvia Harrison. Spinnaker's Restaurant for teaching me how not to treat employees. Edward Eugene "Hoss" Lewis for showing me that no man is worthy of worship, and David Rabe who has shown me that all men are at times to be pitied. To Spain for my first lesson in prejudice, and to George Washington Carver High School for my second. To Kimberly Steele who liked me perhaps as much as I liked her, yet another in a long list of missed opportunites. Mr. Jackson's Homeroom class who did not paint the Beatles mural [it was I]. 1st and 10th grade art contests, both of which I won. Mr. Early and any girl named Kelli. Teresa Milewski for my first taste of genitalia. To band class and the trumpet my mother bought for me, and my love for music. Belinda Kelly for teaching me the true meaning of fidelity and the phrase "sex-as-a-weapon." Everet Youngberg the ever-smiling, ever-faithful friend. Taco, Hercules, Rufus and Dudley, and Pepe. To Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Merry and Pippen and good ole' Sam Gamgee. Charlotte Norris for my first stolen kiss and the slap she returned for my effort. To Paula Kirker, because she liked Klaatu. Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, and Marilyn Monroe. And did I mention Marilyn Monroe? Diana Spencer and Norma Jean. Kansas. Both the calm and stormy seas of winter upon which I piloted a steady course. When Worlds Collide. The Beatles. Enya and Loreena McKennitt. Sinead's burning of Troy. Homers burning of Troy. Ulysses and Penelope. The sinking of Atlantis and the land that is now the Mediterranean Sea. Pangaea and Hyperboria. Ming the Merciless, Flash and Dale Arden. Ornella Muti's "Aura." The Alan Parsons Project and the Turn of a Friendly Card. Ron Ely's "Tarzan." Author Gene Wolfe. Ursula K. LeGuin's "Lathe of Heaven." Ray Bradbury and his "Martian Chronicles," especially "The Million Year Picnic." Icarus Montgolfier Wright. Hermann Hesse and Sidharrtha. Immanuel Velikovsky. William Golding's "Lord of the Flies." Fahrenheit 451. Phillip K. Dick's, "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?" AKA Blade Runner. "Logan's Run" [The Book]. "The Stand." "The Dark Tower." Robert Jordan's, "The Wheel Of Time." Robert Roy McGregor and William Wallace. The highlands of Scotland and anything with bagpipes. To "The Sun in the Stream," the tune that echoed across the mountain top at my father's funeral. "Cursum Perficio." Cecil B. Demille's Ten Commandments and to Ben Hur. Sensei Richard Lording's Shorin-Ryu. To Goju-Ryu and Sanchin. Hiroaki Samura and the Blade of the Immortal. Michael J. Linsner. Darrian Ashoka and Dawn. Gary Numan and the B-52's. The Moody Blues. Yes. A Farewell to Kings and Moving Pictures. Clannad, Connie Dover and especially Luka Bloom. Dan Fogelberg. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Tears for Fears, Queen, and Dixie Chicks. For finding Shawn Colvin before everyone else did. Charleton Heston in Planet of the Apes. Jaws. Jean-Luc Picard, Worf, and Data. Bram Stoker and the scariest vampire story ever. Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo and Jules Verne. Back to the Future I, II and III. Robert Adams "Return of the Horseclans" and Milo Morai. Richard Adams "Watership Down," especially Hazel, Fiver, Strawberry, Hyzenthlay, my very own "Hrududu" parked out front, and the concept of Tharn and all it implies. Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Steven Segal, all of whom are the real deal. U2 and Sting's "Fields of Gold" as well as his "Dream of the Blue Turtle." Mrs. Bell who treated me as though I were one of her own. Dan Robbins. Joby "the Joneser" Roberts. Cliff Myers. Lee Pizza. Suzie Durko for sharing long walks with me. Mike Gailfoil. Debra Lively. Robby Heisner. Steve Hagan. The Entire Kasprowicz Clan and that Hallowed place known to one and all as the "Oaks." David Everett. Bill Norris and his lovely bride. Catherine "Cat" Vaughan, Kim Dosier, Wendy Morris, Krishelle, Desa Dance. Dot Brown, for the hard lesson in duplicity. Lisa Treadwell, and Sherif Dawson. Dawn Floyd. Brandi Holton. To Hannah and her Needle, Corriandor, and Arwen. The Stoning Of Charity and the return of inspiration after three years, Sun and Flower. The Poetry of War and Howard's Ball. Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern for a look at both sides of the fence. To Solitude, for teaching me how to think for myself and showing me the importance of doing so. To the idea that the glass is neither half full, nor half empty, but "Fully Half Empty." To Marian for teaching me liberalism and christianity do not mix well. To Angel, who taught me to be myself, express my romantic side, and that said "expression" is not inconsistent with faith in God. To Etienne and Angelina, my outlet. To Danielle, because every family needs a blacksheep, however undeserved the epithet, and to Anna because I choose to. To Peter Jackson for giving me Frodo and Aragorn and all of middle earth. Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus. Liz Parker and Max Evans. J Michael Straczynski, and Mr. Bester. To Ben for showing me the true face of irrationality. To 9/11 for opening my eyes to the ever changing face of evil. To the Dem's for selfishness. To WTVY for the best job I've ever had, but not one I will hold to for much longer. To Gulf Coast Community College for the beginning of a "thing," and to Wallace Community College for the latest chapter. To john and Aeryn for showing me just how small the cage I kept my imagination in was. Duncan McLeod. That incredible scene wherein Jude Law drags his paralyzed body up a spiral stair. To the realization that sex is the least important of aspects in any relationship. And to Mary Angel, who was my first, and best.

...and the list could go on and on. But I think you get the idea. There are so many people and things that have contributed to who I have become, some good, some bad. Sure, I'd like to be able to go back to when I was 17, with all I know now, and do it differently. Who wouldn't? I would no longer be who I am, but would that necessarily be a bad thing? And that is a question best studied some other time as it is nearing 2am and sleep in this house is hard to come by.

Sweet dreams, Mary Angel.

With love,

Eric.

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