Category: Uncategorized

Blow out the candle

Monumental milestones need to be celebrated or at least noted, so without further ado, Happy Birthday, Edgewise. You are still alive and kicking after a year. I am in awe.

When I began this little weblog, I worried that 1. I would starve the thing by failing to feed it words and 2. I would say something terribly important and would therefore miss the opportunity to say the same thing somewhere else and get paid for it.

I can honestly say that neither fear came to pass. I managed to post with nearly admirable finesse – okay, so I missed a few days – and I am quite sure I said nothing so deeply profound that it should be within the pages of my someday NY Times bestseller.

Feeding the blog wasn’t always a piece of cake, pun intended, I guess. There were days when I knew I had nothing important to say and days when I knew I had no energy to say what was important to me. But I have to say I am glad I found a way, somehow, to keep getting a word in Edgewise (get my little joke?) because blogging is journaling and journaling is making sense of your world and making sense of your world keeps you from caving in when times get tough.

I read, reviewed and promoted a number of really good books this past year, my favorite is still “The Thirteenth Tale,” which I yakked about on January 1.

My favorite pictures that I posted this year are of my little cactus garden, which sad to say came upon some bad luck last week when we had some siding removed from the back of the house. My husband told me it’d be best if I didn’t go back there until he has a chance to see who’s alive and who is not. I am thankful then, to have these baby photos, because, I fear it is all I have. There is comfort in knowing I didn’t spend much and I can always buy more.

My favorite post of the year is August 3, not because I wrote such wonderful words but because I finally came to terms with myself and admitted I am not the happy sanguine I’ve always wanted to be. I’m a no-nonense choleric. That’s just the way it is. It’s about time I realized I am not like my yellow Lab. You can’t be what you wish you were. You are who you are. I can be a redeemed choleric. I can even be a nice choleric. But I yam what I yam. And it’s best that I just be as genteel a yam as I can be.

Thanks for sharing the year with me. You’ve made it worth every word.

Breathing . . .

When Alexander Pope penned the words “hope springs eternal. . .” I wonder what was running through his mind. I like to think he was thinking of heaven – that lovely, eternal place – that is hope’s address.

Here is the snippet of text where these three words come from:
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”

If we didn’t have hope, it would be a sorry life indeed. Hope keeps us from folding in on ourselves when life demands too much of us, when it seems like it always will.

Yesterday, I took a walk with my husband through the Blue Sky Ecological Preserve – a woodsy track of land four miles from my house, ablaze just six months ago when it seemed all of San Diego County was on fire. It was only the second weekend the Preserve had been re-opened to visitors. After the fire was snuffed, Blue Sky looked alien, scarred, wounded. I looked away when I drove past it, which was nearly every day. Skeletal, blackened tree limbs reached out in supplication, and toast-colored boulders, now an ashy, charcoal gray, eerily dotted a scorched terrain that resembled acreage from another planet. The Preserve looked lifeless. Suffocated.

Its caretakers, though deeply saddened by the loss of so much foliage, told us not to lose hope. Wait until spring, they said. The Preserve is not dead. It has been dealt a hard blow, but it is still breathing. Wait until spring.

They were right of course. The oaks are still black, their branches still charred, but blossoms of oak leaf clusters are springing from what looks dead. The clusters look like bridal bouquets. There was still the evidence of a fierce assault at every turn in our walk, but also vividly colorful reminders that hope always trumps despair. Always.

Mirror, mirror

When I first had a book published a few years back, and I knew my name would actually generate a few hits on Google, I did the vain thing and Googled myself. It was pretty exciting. A heady experience, if you catch my drift. I still do it from time to time – when I’m bored, when I’m procrastinating, and when I’m feeling curious – okay, insecure.

I confess this only because I’ve learned that lots of authors Google themselves or put Google Alerts on the their names. We want to know when people have talked about us or mentioned us in a blog or read a book of ours and decided to say something to the vast Internet audience about it. Sometimes I’ll catch a reader review I hadn’t read before or I’ll learn a bunch of librarians on the East Coast decided to buy some of my books for their shelves and I’m among the new acqusitions for that month.

But you know what? Everybody Googles themselves, not just authors. Everybody.

What is particularly interesting is that I am not the only Susan Meissner out there. There are more of me. There are some of you out there, too. Some of you know this. In fact, there is a popular website that tallies same names (very cleverly titled SameNameAsMe). In a recent article the New York Times said there is a name for people who skip about the Google universe looking for their twins: Googlegangers. A writer, Angela Shelton, found hope and healing while she searched for people who shared her name. She wrote a book about it.

The NY Times says there is a reason we are drawn to people who share our name. “It is because human beings are unconsciously drawn to people and things that remind us of ourselves.” We are attracted to things that make us think of us! Yikes. Is it a quirky, narcissistic bent or deep insecurity that makes us seek out strangers who share the first layer of our identity? Studies show we even, by and large, like our own intitials better than other letters of the alphabet!

I read this and wanted to say, “That’s just silly.”

But the truth is, I love the curly shape of the letter S. I do. And my admiration for the 19th letter is only slightly less than the attraction I have to M. Remember the M Mary Richards had in her St. Paul apartment on the Mary Tyler Moore Show? As soon as I got married and had a last name that began with M, I began to want one of those. I still want one.

And McDonald’s Golden Arches? When my kids were little, impressionable, and devotees of said restaurant, I used to tell them that the yellow M stood for Meissner.

They believed me.

Guess it’s not so silly after all, eh?

Truce and consequences

Okay, so I am not trying to make something overly insightful of the writer’s strike and the awards ceremonies, ’cause truthfully, it really doesn’t matter to me. (I feel like I need to say that upfront because I am about to post another comment about it and that usually suggests personal and impassioned interest.)

But here’s the thing. The Golden Globes ceremony was axed because of the writer’s strike but the Oscars will go on as planned no matter what happens between the writers and the people who pay them. I read it in today’s paper. The show will go on, strike or no strike.

It’s because the Oscars are big. Money-big. The writers will bow to tradition and call a one-night truce. They will lay down their signs, abandon the picket line and allow the Academy Awards ceremony to be brought to the masses in all its pomp, excess and, as at least one Edgling would say, cleavage.

Roll out the red carpet.

The next day, the writers will pick up their signs and be back at it. The one-day truce will dissolve and the war of wills shall resume.

This may sound really off the wall, but this whole scenario reminds me a tad of the famed Christmas Eve in the World War I trenches when soldiers on both sides of the battlefield began to sing Silent Night together, and then proceeded to lay down their weapons and wish each other well.

“Merry Christmas. I’m not going to kill you tonight. But I might tomorrow.”

Is there really such a thing as a temporary truce? If you can find the courage and resolve to be fair, wise, and prudent at the time of your choosing, why can’t you choose it every day? The war could’ve ended on that Christmas Eve if everyone had chosen to do the fair, wise and prudent thing on Dec. 25.

The comparison is not strong enough to stand at full view of course. In the trenches, both British and German soldiers laid down their agendas in the interest of peace. In the current situation, it appears only the writers are willing to sing Christmas carols.

It just seems kind of preposterous, lying down the picketing posters on Oscar Sunday only to pick them back up again on Ordinary Monday. As if neither day matters very much. The strike either matters or it doesn’t. You can’t eat fruitcake and drink schnapps with the guy on the other side of the battlefield on Tuesday and then point a gun at him on Wednesday.

I fear I’m stumbling around in a cafeteria of foggy thoughts. Time for bed. Sweet weekend dreams, everyone. . .

Time for some new carpet

I admit I am a little disappointed the writers’ strike is still going on. And I am sad that there are writers who want to be writing but are not.

But I am also sad that my writing colleagues in the film industry currently earn less than a nickel on a DVD sale. It’s incredible, really. The DVD you buy for $17? The writer gets something in the neighborhood of four cents. That’s just not right. So I understand why they are on strike.

And yet I am itching for the impasse to pass. I’d like The Office to come back and I’d like a full season of Lost. And I would have watched the Golden Globes had the ceremony aired but I am not overly disappointed there was no red carpet yesterday. The awards were still given. Talent was still recognized; just with less fanfare.

But it appears there are some who were greatly distressed by what didn’t take place last night. And it had nothing to do with writers and actors and directors. It had nothing to do with the art of filmmaking at all. It had to do with fashion. There was no runway show last night. No one was showing off their evening gowns or jewels or coiffures. There was no red carpet to woo us into thinking big award ceremonies are about clothes, not artistic talent.

I happened upon a countdown to the Golden Globes show where nameless commentators in ties and spaghetti straps tried to convince themselves and their audience that they were having a lovely, engaging time waiting for the press conference to start even though there were no celebs to chat with and no dresses to admire or ridicule. They kept saying “We’re still having a good time here!” which makes you think they aren’t. And which certainly makes you think the GG awards are really a front for a fashion show.

Actually, Hollywood news teams had a chance to delve deep into what makes a movie memorable, what turns words on a page into story, what compels us to care about characters who aren’t real. But from what I saw, they just yakked about what makes an award ceremony boring. No stars. No gowns. No red carpet.

Well. Maybe it’s time to nix the carpet, have next year’s ceremony at Yellowstone and tell everyone to wears jeans and a sweatshirt.

But then I suppose it be all about who’s wearing whose jeans. . . And what kind of SUV they drove to get there. . .

Getting a word in edgewise

This is the beginning of a little experiment.

For months I have toyed with the idea of birthing my own blog and for months I have been hesitant to take on the little darling for surely she will need to be fed and watered and loved and cared for. That takes time. And skill. And an expense of creativity that I might need for projects that help feed and clothe the real people in my house.

But I am feeling a little daring today. Secretly so. No one really knows I am here. Not yet anyway. I am going to do my motherly best not to neglect this lovely little place. It will be a test of my resolve, most probably.

Let’s see how I do. . .