Category: Creativity

“Blind Tom” Meets “Dog”

“Blind Tom” Meets “Dog”

“I’m tired of pulling this load every day.

I’m tired of being a horse.

I’m happy to meet you, I would say.

But my horsey voice is too coarse.”

 

“I gotcha, Mr. Horse. I’m so done being a dog.

I’m hungry all the time. Mealtime is a slog.

For just one day, I’d like to play.

“Fetch” sounds so good! I wait for that day.

 

“You’re a dog. I’m a horse.

We’ve both got four legs, of course.

But our fates are very different.

Our purposes, diverse.

Being a horse or a dog—

I wonder what is worse?”

 

“You’re Blind Tom, you fool. At least you have a name.

I don’t. I’m nameless. ‘Hey Dog,’ they exclaim.

My masters are many. My admirers are few.

The Railroad needs you but I’m as useless as a barren ewe.”

 

“Your man’s best friend! That’s never been my role.

You have a place at man’s side—that makes you whole.

I’m one step removed. A worker at best.

Sometimes I’m transportation. But the railroad is a test.

It’s over. I’m toast. I’m glue. The die is cast.

They won’t need horses. Those days are past.”

 

“Listen, Blind Tom. You’re a legend in your time.

You’re needed. You’re a fixture. And a worker on the line.

Your energy, your drive, your will to succeed

Are admirable, wonderful. You’re a great steed indeed.”

 

“Thanks, Dog. I hear you. I thank you for your trust.

I hope I live to see the end before I bite the dust.

This Railroad may be the death of me. One way or another.

But I will always think of you as a friend and as a brother.”

 

NOTE: Blind Tom was a real horse who pulled flatcars for construction crews on the Transcontinental Railroad

Huh? Is This ME???

This IS me! I’m staring into space in the fall of 2022. I am seventy-two. I’m small. And tall. I have no clue at all.

“Heaven is a new pair of glasses.” ~ Anne Lamott

With this post, I am starting on the second in the series that started with Giving My Self to the Wind. (2017)

 

This one will be called: Giving My Self to the Stars

Subtitle: How to BE Life (NOTE: Not DO Life)

 

 

“How to Be Alive”

“How to Life”

“Life’s Secrets” Hint: There are none.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Girl “Ho” 

I didn’t know 

I’d be a “ho”

When I was a little girl.

 

I didn’t plan

On being with a man

When I was a little girl.

I didn’t understand

When they put their hands 

On my ‘woo-woo’ when I was a girl.

But then it began

The man paid for his hand 

And I was no longer a girl, but a ho.

 

Mama always said 

I was not being wise.

Mama tried to tell me

I was smarter than them guys. 

That all I had to say was, “No.” No! NO!!

But you know how it goes.

They were deaf, don’t you know. 

So, by then, I was below.

I had nowhere else to go

And I knew it was so,

I was a ho.

 

Mama tried to lock the gate.

But she knew it was my fate. 

She tried to find me a mate.

She tried to anticipate.

But it was too late.

Her dream would have to wait.

Because for me I hate

That I’m a ho…

 

I didn’t know 

I’d be a “ho”

When I was a little girl

I didn’t plan

On being with a man

When I was a little girl

I didn’t understand

When they put their hands 

On my ‘woo-woo’ when I was a girl

But then it began

The man paid for his hand 

And I was no longer a girl, but a ho.

 

When the train came through

Looking for cooks,

I said I could cook

And I showed ‘em my books.

Sad for me, my looks 

Made the men that were crooks

Suffer me my fate, you know…

You’re not a cook!

Not the way you look!

And so,

I was no longer a girl, I was a ho.

Happiness Is Not Needing More

I don’t need anything more.

No nothing. Of that, I am shore.

I don’t need more stuff, it’s all just fluff.

More clothes? I’ll give mine to the poor.

 

I’m not taking a class or writing a post.

I won’t try putting extra butter on my toast.

I’ll refrain from checking my Facebook Page.

And won’t tweet a Tweet to vent my rage.

I will not compare. I will not look back.

I cannot look forward or fear an attack.

Today is today. And all I can say

To the people who’ve gone astray and lost their way…

EGBOK, my friends. Have faith. Make hay.

Believe me, Receive me. “Everything’s Going to Be OK.

Now… Am I happy?

 

 * * *

I think the entrepreneur and investor Naval Ravikant would agree with Andy Puddicome, founder of the meditation app, Headspace, that we only find happiness in the present. And we can only be in the present if we are willing to work hard to do  nothing.

Do you feel the TENSION in that statement? I do!

When we meditate, we are trying to do just that. We work (at meditation) to pay attention to only one thing in the present moment. Thoughts of the future and the past and the emotions surrounding those thoughts rip us from our present.

Worry is a particularly useless feeling. It’s a projection of a future over which we have no control. Worry can also be a feeling that shoves us back to some previous time when we wish we had done or said something different. Wayne Dyer used to say, “You can’t should have done anything!” I miss him.

I smile at my own ineptitude. I’m not Naval, nor Andy, nor Wayne. (All men, by the way, and what’s that about?). I am, however, beautifully inept. I am wondering about the depth of my imperfection at this second. When actually, in this very next second, I am happy. Grateful. Here at this moment, to be writing this post and nothing else.

It’s bitchin’, I tell you, bitchin’!

 

 

 

What Music Am I Playing Today?

My Piano Hands!

I play music as I pass through my day.

 Sometimes it’s harsh, and sometimes easy-breezy, hooray.

Each day it’s a choice to:

Curate the chords

Making majors from the minors.

Nurture each note and

Relaxing on the rests.

Dive into dissonance

Forcing fortes and frowns.

Invite

Pianissimos seeking peace,

Soft pedals pushed down.

Channel rock ‘n roll?

Relish Rachmaninoff!

  Meet Miranda or Mozart.

It’s a joy, it’s an art.

The best news is

The music I play.

Is totally mine,

To make my day my way.

 

 

Inspiration for the Novel “Deathlist”

I’m often asked, “What was the inspiration for this novel?”

Well, pretty often.  Um, so. Hmmm. Okay. I’m telling you now that you’ve asked. Thanks! 🙂

Here’s my ANSWER: Every time I saw someone on the news or heard of a person dying that seemed especially odd (like a child, for gosh sakes, or someone sitting on a bench eating a sandwich and a tree fell on them, maybe), I began to form a theory that everyone had a specified death date. Death was not by chance, happenstance, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. God had it planned out. He kept track of it in a big database, which someone or other dubbed the Deathlist.

I still believe there might be one somewhere. How do you explain those little times when you were two seconds behind that huge traffic accident? Or, okay, on a morbid but equally mysterious level, why do some suicide attempts not work? Without bogging down my explanation with statistics, we can all report anecdotal evidence of failed suicides.

Then imagine that humans were somehow allowed to know what their death date was. That was the germ of the book.

Would you want to know when you’re going to die? 

I could know how much time I had to finish and publish the Deathlist. Write a how-to book about anything. (I’m not sure, but I buy a lot of those fix-me-please books, so I think I should write one!)

 

LOVE to have you take the survey and… oh yes, buy the book. 🙂

An Interview with Death

Hello and welcome. I’m Ana Cortez from ACME NEWS. Today, we’re sitting with Death in her penthouse living room in New York City where she often stays between gigs. If you’ve not met Death, you are in for a treat. Death has a history of being misunderstood for much of her life. In fact, she didn’t understand a lot about her own existence until the Deathlist was published and now, she’s much more relaxed and has time for interviews. Like today’s.

By the way, for you radio listeners, Death is wearing a très chic just-last-week’s Paris collection torn jean look with gold spike heels, a Vera Wang backless top, a John Hardy necklace and bracelet, and a Chanel scarf. Her hair is pinned up in an elegant chignon with not-so-tiny diamonds nestled throughout, sparkling against the camera lights.

Ana: How are you today, Death? You look amazing. As usual.

Death: Thank you so much, I’m fine. And I’m glad to have a few days off.

Ana: Days off? What happens to the souls you’re supposed to pick up today?

Death: I have assistants that help out. We’ve always had a team, of course, but I have to say some of the younger collectors are in too much of a hurry.

Ana: What do you mean?

Death: I try to help people at the end of their lives. I like to give them a chance to ponder their existence, revisit their purpose, and hopefully forgive themselves.

Ana: Who knew? You don’t take people’s lives then.

Death: No. I don’t. They’re already out of the earthly, mortal plane when I arrive. I’m the go-between.

Ana: So, who sends them to their eternity?

Death: That’s another department entirely. And people’s sins are tallied in the Sin Almagamator Department for that.

Ana: Um… Oh. Gee.

Death: Don’t worry. I’m sure you’re fine.

Ana: Uh…  Well. Let’s talk about the Deathlist. What was that exactly?

Death: Everyone on the Earth has a designated time when they’re born. God makes sure they’re here when they’re supposed to be. [Death sweeps her arms around the apartment and out to the amazing view of New York.] Then, they have to have a time when they die, of course. The Deathlist is a big database where all that is recorded. We decided people shouldn’t know when they’ll die ahead of time. Although we’re still open to opinions.

Ana: Huh?

Death: Yes. If you’d like to take the survey, it’s here.

Ana: Oh. Great. I’ll do that. And our listeners can too! But I’m not sure if I want to know.

Death: Yes. Yes.  Everyone has a different thought on that. It’s very personal. We get that. But, I’m afraid I have to go.

Ana: So soon?

Death: Yes. I’m very sorry. But I have to collect some souls now. There’s a terrible war going on in Ukraine, and we just didn’t put enough collectors on for today. Thanks so much for putting me on the air.

Ana: We’ll do this again!  Thanks for coming on our show, Death. And listeners, would you like to know when you’re going to die? Take the survey and be sure to read Deathlist. Until then, signing off from ACME NEWS.

Ana: That’s a wrap.

Ana to self: I probably better scoot to confession. 

The Last Walk for A Man and His Best Friend

It was a sunny day. Beautiful. When George stepped out of the house with his dog that day, he didn’t know it was the last walk he’d ever take. The Amtrak train came out of nowhere.

He didn’t know, but I did.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m Death. And I pick up people’s souls. I don’t kill anyone. That’s another department. I just collect souls. This guy was a doozy because if the DEATHLIST were still active, he could have consulted it before he started out that day, and he may have decided not to “chance” the run across the tracks. Right? But it’s not. In Kathryn’s book, DEATHLIST, we know humans could see when they were going to die. But it’s gone now, so this person was taken quite by surprise. I know it because when I picked him up, he was, like, “Did that train hit me?” He looked at me very confused. “Are you the grim reaper? You’re beautiful!”

“Yes. I am she. And yes, thank you for the compliment. But I’m not that grim. At least I try not to be.”
“What about my dog?”

“I’m sorry. It was hit, too. I don’t know you, but you might see your dog again.”

He was going to ask me about it, but I knew I had to comfort him and tell him how lucky he was that I could be here with him. “Uh. Okay,” he said.

Just for the record for you animal lovers, the DEATHLIST was not for animals. Good question, though. The DEATHLIST was only for people. However, heaven lets good people have their animals with them. It’s one of the perks. I’m not sure this person walking their dog will have their pup with them. It’s not my job. See. As Death, I don’t make those calls. I just answer the call to pick up the person’s soul and then we turn them over to the Sin Amalgamators to tell them to check their credentials.

Our last-walk guy has gone on his way. And now, I have to take care of a few other people. The poor conductor who killed our dog walker was a basket case after the accident, but he didn’t die. His wife had a heart attack when she heard the news.  I had to collect her soul later that night because truth be told, the conductor had a teeny drinking problem, and was on his last chance to straighten out or lose his job. Of course, he did lose his job, and his wife was sure they’d lose their home and their beat-up car. She probably brought on her heart attack, at least she may have thought so. But God had her on his list for that day.

On a happier note. It turns out the dog got into heaven with his owner. They were both on God’s good list. I like happy endings. Don’t you?

HAVE A GREAT LIFE!

Signed,

Death

P.S. Would you want to know when you’re going to die?  Drop us a line here. We’ll be including the results in a post on social media near when Deathlist launches.

Ms. Death Wears Chanel

The woman on the Paris runway during Fashion Week does not wear a black hood nor does she carry a scythe. She is not bent over in the crone position and does not have a warted, hooked nose. If you saw that kind of woman,  she might be selling poisoned apples to a hapless Snow White character, soon to be part of a group of weird short men with names like Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy, and the rest.  (Can you name them?)

No. This woman is Death. A female princess of darkness as it were. She’s in Paris to strut her beauty and clear her name. Of the former, she might succeed. As to the latter, the chances of clearing her name are remote. But she will try in the novel Deathlist, by Kathryn Atkins.

“Hey, Coco,” the woman behind her in the lineup says as they begin their exit off the stage. Death’s name to the mortals around her is Coco. The woman continues, “Do you smell that?”

“What?” Oh. No. Death thinks to herself. My odor is seeping out. I forgot to hold it at bay and it is not Chanel No. 5!

You see, Death has a terrible smell (think rotting flesh) that always surrounds her unless she expends enough energy to suppress it. Sometimes she fails at it, especially when she’s concentrating on something else. Sometimes she’s just too sad. The odor seeps out of sad tears. Other times she’s happy, and the stench (incredibly enough) squeezes out through the tears of laughter. Nah. Doesn’t make much sense, except to say Death loves clothes. Loves to be beautiful, and really does like humans.

You’ll see. Read Deathlist to find out. And besides, you might like to know when you’re going to die. That is if you believe that there is a Deathlist. I think there is or I wouldn’t have written the book.

~ Kathryn Atkins,  Deathlist Author