A Short from on Set


They couldn’t have known that in the wilderness of Alaska, the son of Sylvia Plath would hang himself. They only went there to grieve their own private sorrows.


A recently married couple are driving home from a long day of work and other related endeavors. It’s mid-evening:

“So a lot of corruption goes on, but only the failed attempts are illustrated. Just how much corruption goes on to succeed is unknown, and we have to guess that only a few are caught. Yeah, so the widespread corruption that goes on unaccounted for is rampant and frighteningly commonplace.”

“And that’s your point?”

“Why must you demean me?”

“You use these words like demean and nobody understands you.”

“I’m simply talking about the nature of life.”

“So dramatic.”

“Yeah, just like the ‘so’ in your retort.”

“I’m hungry.”

CUT CUT CUT! The director pops up from his chair to guide the young actors.

Listen he says addressing the couple, I need you to understand what these characters are facing. What we have here is another missed opportunity for a moment of clarity, to indulge in the dramatic!

But! You know at the same time that it doesn’t make a difference anyway. Anything profound born in a moment is part of the past just as quick. All in all its just moments, one after another. One brings a cry so ferocious that laughter is enlivened alongside the pulsating heart…And then! And then we live with these moments while new moments are cascading around us. We are a living history, some with moments that have broken us, and others with those that have risen us from the ashes. Most with a little of each incessantly until our life is over.

The director, turns and faces the camera or the cameraman and slowly says the following:

I am homeless, like you are. I am only too aware of the fragility of that home we make and call our own. There are those who save us, and to those same, we turn our rage. Though in the afternoon light, when everyone has gone to contend with the masses, and all is still in the empty home, the simple truth streams in through the blinds. The contempt and the anger, the stress and the defenses, the blame and the misgivings, are no longer. Not by anything concrete or definable have they gone. But by the breakdown of the complex to the basic.

The director turns again to the actors.

 It is going from the dread of dragging your bones through another day to a wide-eyed fascination for one’s external stimuli. And ha! The difference is only a moment. So much of the control involved in a moment is beyond humanly initiated, but that doesn’t stop us from putting all our energy into that perceived control. And when it all crashes down us, and we are left with NOTHING, the whole world is new again. We must redefine ourselves, accept who we are, and live honestly-accepting of our new role. No, I do not drive the bus, you must say to yourself, as you squeeze your beloved a moment longer. Now, let’s continue with the scene, as if I hadn’t stopped you. But this time, keep in mind what I have told you. And, ACTION!

“You’re always hungry,what are we going to fix anyway, there’s nothing at home,” meanwhile secretly remembering the eggs and corned beef in a tin at the back of the cabinet.

“Yes, I’m hungry and tired, I still gotta take a shower, take out the trash, brush my teeth, eat something-how about I fix us up some corned beef and eggs?


Aren’t you glad I thought of that?”

“Yes, my sweet apple pie.”

(And they drove the rest of the way home in their whiny Toyota, each experiencing their own moments that proceeded to fade into the blurring landscape.)



Death of the Visitor From Space

Guess who showed up again.

It was the visitor from another planet!

This guy sitting alone, seems massive, even to me who seems infinitely bigger than him.

When we first met, he never hopped away from me or acted scared and eventually strolled off to another part of the yard.

Does this guy eat spiders? I wondered.

He seemed to have a cobweb mustache.

No, I learned that he is a herbivore, hence the jaws made for chewing.

I wouldn’t see him again for another 2 months, when he had made his way to the backyard and was sunning in the apparent safe haven he had found.

Unbeknownst to him, since his last visit a cat had become the newest member of our household.

The birds that came for the buffet in my yard had figured it out quickly.

All, except for the brave hummingbird, who still hovers dangerously close to my cats jaws, which were not made for chomping plants.

I have tried to keep my cat relatively an indoor cat, but can’t bear to keep her inside when we have such a lovely yard. Despite, my desire for the cat to feel somewhat free, I still dread that day when she will drag in a lovely, beautiful bird, and I will have to deal with the carnage.

A silent thank you I will have to say to the cat who will proudly believe she has brought me a gift. Or maybe she will just play with and torture it, only to grow tired when the fight leaves the bird.  I will have to finish it off so as to cut short the suffering.

Will I do it? Will I have to courage to break the little bird’s neck? Will I hold it against the cat, humanizing the experience?

Well months have passed. The birds still visit the yard, less so than before. But they seem to have the upper hand on the cat. They go to the tops of the trees, visit the feeders, and squawk and scream wildly at the cat.

She stews and her tail shakes.

She imitates the bird’s chatter as her whiskers vibrate.

Once she got so fed up, she leapt for the bird feeder. The bird swooped away from the tree to the top of the fence and danced left and right, singing happily as the cat hung from one paw.

As for that hummingbird, I once witnessed a scene, that might explain why it hasn’t found its way into the cat’s mouth:

As usual, the hummingbird hovered around with the cat no more than a foot away. As the cat cowed down with her backside wagging, readying the pounce, a huge crow flew past the yard cawing loudly. The cat stopped and backed off. Still the crow circled again, making its presence known with extreme sounds of warning emitting from its beak. Since that day, it seems the cat has never gone after those low hovering beauties. The bird kingdom is certainly more powerful than we can imagine.

Either that, or the talk I gave her about how sad I would be if she killed a hummingbird worked.

So the birds seem to fend just fine for themselves. They have must have bigger things to worry about then a scruffy little house cat. But the cat, she gets salty from time to time. And despite myself I wish she could catch something to satisfy her primal urge.


when the visitor from another planet found himself safe in the backyard and leapt through the air in fabulous gusts of confidence, I did not rescue him from the cat’s attentions.

I have to let nature run its course. Besides he looks like he is made of armor, maybe he can withstand the cat’s curiosity.

Little did I anticipate the horror that the cat would bring to the visitor for the next 2o minutes. She did it slowly, and the visitor put up a good fight even as it lost its limbs one by one. Finally he quit hopping around enough for the cat to forget about him and casually go to the next thing.

Meanwhile, the visitor was dying slowly in the sun, left with only one leg.

This was it, my big moment. Time to finish off the job. Gotta do it, it’s the way it is.

I stopped short: Maybe he’ll make it and go on to live a good life, grow his legs back, or maybe a bird will come right now and eat it, continue the cycle of life.

My mind denied the inevitable killing, thinking of the most unlikely of scenarios, soon after thankfully my brother in-law came in from work and asked me how I was doing

As I paced around in my apron trying to act natural, he walked in the door and took off his jacket

“Oh, I’m fine. Good good, yes…how are you?”

Good, a little tired. (puts his briefcase down)

Oh that’s fine, yes work, right…THERESaGRASSHOPPEROUTSIDEWHOisDYINGINtheSUNtheCATKILLEDITandiKNOWitsJUSTaBUGandIHAVETOKILLITtoSTOPtheSUFFERINGbutIDIDNTdoITandIWASWONDERING…(wanting to continue with ‘if you could kill it. Just squash it or something no big deal’ but the voice got lost into the pit of my stomach dropping down the esophagus, and the words only mildly echoed out.)

(Smiling a little but serious nonetheless.)Where is it? Why didn’t you kill it? Where is it?

I lead him to the site where the grasshopper was.

Everything spinning through my mind at this point, I knew I was acting crazy, more like weak, making such a big deal in my mind about this event of death. I should be fine with death by now, I’m an adult.

Similar thought goes through my mind when I am digging the guts out of a chicken.

A scientist, my brother-in-law, showed me how to most efficiently clean the guts from the chicken and would do so with an almost surgical aire about his tactics.

Oh yes I see, I thought the chicken is a body after all and I’m simply removing its lungs, heart, kidney. . .okay I got it now! 🙂

I tried to go with it but I found that just to get through the process, I had to tell myself that I’m looking at a mash of the garbage meat within this meat that we have to eat to survive.

It was not really an animal, okay it was an animal, but then what?

 So I continue to just rip out the garbage meat as fast as possible and try not to think of it beyond getting it done…

Okay, can you please get me something to kill it with? He asks, interrupting my frenzy of thought.

I turned and buzzed somewhat frantically around the house, looking like a Bond character in 007 for Nintendo64. Where am I supposed to find a weapon for killing this suffering visitor?

My mind went immediately to the machete.

“The machete should do?” I called from the kitchen as I peeled a page from the notebook sitting on the table, knowing I would offer that and a shoe but not admitting it just yet.

I see him from the window considering it. (I told you this visitor was big, armored, strong, stoic, leaking no blood and his leg was a foot away-in its striped glory and teathery flesh.)

No this will do, he takes the paper and shoe, and with analytical coldness combined with an evidently beautiful faith in God, he smashes it and lifts the paper with a gentle smile to marvel at the smashed body and guts. He bleeds green. http://thereaganwing.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/predator-the-revelation-of-st-arnold/

Yes, he did in fact, his blood looked exactly like that of the Predator.


A few weeks later I get wind of a tragic event at my cousin-in-law’s house up north an hour or so. Two of her three cats were ripped apart by raccoons. One of the cats was pregnant.

Images ran through my mind of the time (17 years ago) when fellow campers captured turtles and decided to keep them as pets.  They left them in their box, so in the morning a massacre scene was born to haunt my life ever since:

Every soft part of the turtles had been strained through the raccoons’ teeth and their inside were left stringing from the shells and forming a labyrinth of cloudy, mucousy red and blue all over the site. Blood and guts, everywhere.

They had wanted to trap the turtles for their own pleasure, but ended up giving the raccoons a free delicacy. Don’t turtles have enough to worry about?!

The cats similarly had their heads and backsides ripped off.

I imagined in horror, of cleaning up what was left of the cat you had gotten to know beyond human terms.

We only have one cat now, but he is terrified, something frightened him terribly, said the cousin, shaking her head and looking beyond me.

We knew it had been raccoons but she meant something else by her statement, and I imagined the event through the cat’s eyes.


A few days ago, I picked up an old educational psychology book called something like Fantasy and Feeling in Education.

I read about how these teachers designed a summer program for kids in order to study the best ways to get through to children; essentially educate them more thoroughly by incorporating feeling into the education.

The theme for one of the main lessons was centered historically on indigenous people of the circumpolar region. They mapped it out, executed, and changed it according to what their observations told them:


They told the children mild facts about how the people depended on the seal meat, skin, fats, etc, in order to survive. They told them how families lived together and they had to travel from place to place.


They showed them a graphic video of a seal being harpooned through an ice hole.

Blood and resistance everywhere.

Based on observations after the lesson, the teachers had decided that they successfully showed them the death scene and contained their feeling into a more critical, scholarly approach, so they could continue on to the final part of the plan.


They told them about the infanticide and senicide that was part of the people’s past.

Among other illustrations, they were shown a video in which grandma was left to die, the one they had seen in the other video, the one who had bumped her head on the igloo causing the baby to delight in a fit of laughs.

The children were to contemplate their situation and think constructively about their own.

Of course the students come up with too many questions for the teacher to address logically with the time thing and all getting in the way. So the teacher designs a box for the kids to drop in all their questions, so she could give each one the time it deserved.

Until the next lesson, time for one question was allotted: “Why is the baby who has a whole life ahead of them have to die over another in the family”

The teacher said that in order to come to terms with it herself she had to keep seeking facts that could explain phenomena. For example, she told the class that she found out that they never killed a baby if it had been named.

This gave her some understanding, which in turn gave her some solace.

It seemed to me that the teacher was hoping that by gaining more knowledge about things, the children could only increase understanding, and this was the only way in which to effectively channel their feelings. There are no answers really, but only questions and musings.

This is the lesson  that I consistently arrive at: Keep on gathering facts and observations so that I can have a peaceful and fruitful understanding of life and death.

I look forward to the day that I can bring down the machete over the head of the visitor from outer space ending its misery when there is no other choice.

Well for starters, at least I can rest easier learning now, upon further investigation, that he is(was) indeed a straight herbivore, and as you can see, he was getting dangerously close to my garden…

The cat extends her paw before undergoing the hunt


Scene transcript: The Darjeerling Limited (2007)

– He’s dead. He’s dead.

– He’s dead?

– The rocks killed him.

-You’re bleeding like crazy.

FRANCIS: Peter! You okay?

-I didn’t save mine.

-(panting) What’s his name?

(animal bleats) (bell tinkling)

Its Saturday Night and the Feeling’s Right…

to rhyme!

Here are two for you, and you alone:

Lo and behold the blue

that sits beyond the bold.

Out to sea and behind the cold,

a life awaits anew.

But still I stand in the sand

and reach from the land

for a sea that may never be

Though the ship may not dock,

the clock will always tick tock.

(So dive in already!)

and one more for the road:

There once was a cat name Marty, who was dropped off from a party.

He met a cat named Minnie and took her for a spinnie,

on a bike of a boy who pretended to like that he went by RinTinTinTinny.

Bloomin’ Roses Right Under Our Noses

Never read a fiction book in public. You will get unwelcome comments from the peanut gallery. Usually a comment will sound something like this; “Golly, gee, I wish I had time to read…”  Always put a more serious cover over your reading material and a patch over your eye or something so they feel sorry for you instead of themselves…

BOY I miss giving advice! It’s been awhile my fellow readers. I have been quite wrapped up in other pursuits.  So wrapped up in fact I only just noticed roses in full bloom out in my very own backyard.  

How funny these bloomed at a time in our life that is blooming as well: We have opened up our little shop ’round the corner just yesterday. Yes, I am a real, live shopkeeper’s wife, 4 months after taking the plunge.

Life moves so fast, I just want to keep some moments, say remember it, don’t change, this is just how it should be. Especially this time in our newlywed life-everything seems so full of promise, as if the whole world is at our fingertips and anything is possible.

But each moment slips away barely perceptible and a new moment brings an older me. As the blanks get filled in, I release the uncertainty of not knowing and accept the life that was made for me, whether it be roses, thorns, or likely both.

We can’t hold on to time, but we’re not supposed to, and if we try too hard we kind of miss the whole point don’t you think?