Author Archives: Susan Kaye

About Susan Kaye

Writer who avoids writing and a foodie who dislikes cooking.

Soul Corrosion

Sunday my husband and I stopped to make a purchase before delivering Easter baskets to our grandchildren. We came out to the car and I could hear a woman screaming obscenities. She was on the sidewalk we’d just left. I assumed the usual don’t look, don’t engage posture I learned living in the badbadbad part of Portland many years ago. I opened the truck door and got in only to lock eyes with the woman standing about 15 feet from me. She screamed at me, spit at me, and then swung her coat in anger and started stalking away. After a few steps she turned and spit again and then left. We watched her cross the parking lot into an empty field across from the store.

Homelessness and mental illness were obvious. It was a sad to see a person so corroded by a harsh life. Especially on Resurrection Day.

Fast forward to this morning.

Saturday I was kneecapped by a couple of family members. (Metaphorically. Not that we are such a high-class bunch, but there was no physical violence.) I live with one of the people and had tried to think rationally and keep my powder dry on this. Particularly since this person is in the early stages of dementia. (We are one step away from being that commercial where the guy’s father forgets how to brush his teeth.)

Anyway, today was the day to try and work things out. The person will not even acknowledge the actions of Saturday, and brought up a topic that she circles whenever things get tense.

And then she said, “And you’re always bragging about your writing.”

HA! Again I say, HA!

My writing career is pretty much a dried up husk. I published two books a million years ago and she thinks because I come upstairs to get some time alone to think, I’m bragging.   I can feel the corrosion of my soul in the midst of this. Pretty soon, my soul will look just like my writing career. Or the lady screaming and spitting in the parking lot.

My point in all this is to ask, do you go for the knees when you’re arguing? My natural tendency is to try and hit a clever, snotty tone without looking cheap and low-class. Most of the time I can’t accomplish that so just walk away from confrontation.

What do you do when goaded?

BTB, I acted like a jerk and screamed at this person in my home. But only after she screamed at me. Yeah, that’s no justification. I think I need one of these:

Image courtesy of imgarcade.com

 

Beneath the Surface

When it comes to tableware, I love the Blue Willow pattern:

graphic from replacements.com

But my affections can be shifted:

By Helsinki artist, Caroline Slotte

In [the] Tracing Series, I used a process of repeated masking and sandblasting to remove the glaze and the printed imagery step-by-step. When sandblasting the sand eats away on everything hard. Anything soft and flexible, such as the glue I use for masking, remains, the sand cannot penetrate it. I work my way down, layer by layer, rendering the motif three-dimensional, until the image is transformed into something resembling an imprint or an X-ray, as though a memory of the image had sunk into the plate.

Caroline Slotte

I think Austen writers do this with words.

Oops, Jane did it again!

I was busy with RL last week and didn’t see the story that Jane Austen took pen to the pages of her local marriage register and signed up, first with  Henry Frederic Howard Fitzwilliam of London and then again with Edmund Arthur William Mortimer of Liverpool.

There are lots of sources, The Daily Mail and Times of India were my primaries. And they seem to be nearly the same story. They all mention this will be Hampshire’s time to shine with Jane Austen 200th, a celebration of all things Jane. (Jane Austen lived much of her writing life in Hampshire so they get the honor.)

It’s an interesting story, one of the world’s most celebrated spinsters faking, not once but twice, marriage announcements. Very naughty and very modern. However, I am always skeptical when information, readily available for, in this case, well over a century suddenly comes to light. Especially when you consider how many genealogy fans there are all over the world combing the dusty pages of family histories.

Maybe it’s just the mystery fan in me rebelling. Maybe someone stumbled on this tidbit a long time ago and has been saving it. I don’t know.

I’m wearing my wary face on this one.

Someone I Know is Dying

I know, we’re all dying. That’s a given. This person is not close to me, but someone who comes up in conversation and their death will affect my daughter and her children. A lot. This person has been chronically ill for years, but it only now that they and the immediate family have been talking about the end of things.

All I can do is to pray about the situation. Comfort and peace is all I can think about. Not being close there isn’t a place for me in the process. Standing outside looking in I can see why people become advocates of causes when someone dies particularly of a self-induced illness. Anger and busyness can put aside the sadness and pain. For a while I suppose.

The saddest juxtaposition is that spring is coming. That means my house is coming alive with ladybugs and bulbs are blooming. The seasons and time move onward. That’s the only solution for sadness.

 

 

Men are a little bit blind

“I was six weeks with Edward,” he said, “and saw him happy. I could have no other pleasure. I deserved none. He enquired after you very particularly; asked even if you were personally altered, little suspecting that to my eyes you could never alter.”  Chapter 23, Persuasion

Just after meeting up with Anne Elliot again, Wentworth said that she was so altered he would not have known her. But we also know that guys say a lot of things they don’t mean. Whether to stay out of trouble or make themselves look better, who knows. Women are prone to this as well, but usually for more complicated reasons. Men also have the ability to overlook a lot. They can walk around the same plate and glass on an end table for weeks if no one mentions them. I think this offhand comment was in the same vein as Darcy’s in P&P, said to look clever but never meant to be heard by the object.

The other day I was reading a blog post about many men not noticing when their wives change a lot over time. The example was of a man who married a beauty queen and she lost her looks over the course of their 40 plus-year marriage. He said he only noticed the change in her face and body when he saw how others looked at her. But when they were home, alone, she was his lovely beauty queen.  The author of the blog is newly widowed and he said it was the same for him, and that he was pretty certain that his memories of his late wife will be ever green.

This bit of mental magic is alive and well in my own marriage. I’m considerably heavier than I was when Bill and I married 38 years ago. That doesn’t matter to him, he’s never said anything that can be construed as disappointment. And that’s why we’re heading for No 39 in a few weeks.

I like to think that Frederick was telling Edward the truth while his comment early on was just palaver you say to fill the time when you meet new people. We all get a little precious when we are trying to make a good impression. Maybe I’m all wet. I hope not. I like having a bit of a fairy tale world to retreat to these days.

Take care.