Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bee Stings By: Karen Pilarski

Summer of 1986 in Milwaukee was a scorcher. The kiddie pool was pulled out of the damp garage leaving dirty streaks as it was dragged from it's home. Pairs of chubby hands kept slipping as it was rolled onto the front yard.

Soft giggles and ponytails hit the back of sun kissed necks.

Colorful fishes with smiles adorned the wall of the two inch deep oasis.

Dad, Mom and her friend Cheryl lounged on the plaid weaved mesh lawn chairs. Sweaty legs stuck to the material leaving imprints pressed on skin. In their hands a icy dark colored beverage in frosted A&W glasses.

*Miranda, my oldest sister was teasing me. My brothers chased us around the pool with the hose. Shrieking and giggling and cold splashes of water made the intolerable weather tolerable.

"Stop bothering the little ones!" yelled my intoxicated father.

Pieces of grass and dirt tickled under our pruned feet. I was no more than an inch away from stepping into the pool when I felt it.

A sharp needled object jabbed into my bare foot. "OWWWW!!" I hopped up and down on one leg bellowing in pain.

It is funny to think of it now but right away my parents put blame on one of other kids. "Who did it?" My dad yelled firmly. My brothers and sisters stood frozen as if they were to blame.

A small whimper came out of me "It was the stupid bee, I stepped on it." Then proceeded to sob as I clutched my swollen foot.

Out of nowhere Cheryl swooped in and picked me up. She put me on the ledge by the porch. "Put mud on the bee sting, when the mud dries the stinger will pull out." Even though I was small, I wasn't stupid. "No mom, (hyperventilating) hu..rr.tttt!"

 It was no use for old wives and their tales. Cheryl found a wet mound of mud and slathered it on the inflicted area. Sniffling and hair dripping wet, I slouched down on the ledge with my muddy foot danging. Miranda smirked as if to say "ha ha."

To add insult to injury as I watched my brothers and sisters continue with their afternoon of water fun. Until it happened again.

Miranda let out a scream and with a big thud landed on the ground in a hysterical fit. Apparently my bee brought a date to our pool party. The date stung my sister on her foot. 

Over Miranda's high pitched seal calls I heard Cheryl voice. In true superhero mode she said "I'll get more mud."

We sat with dried mud on us and scowls at the happy colorful fish on the walls of the kiddie pool.

Shifting over a bit I noticed a wet mark from where my bottom was on the ledge. "My butt made a spot." Soft giggles erupted as we kept inching along the ledge making little wet butt prints along it.

The next time I was stung  I was nineteen. My older boyfriend stood on my porch and declared that we had nothing in common and broke up with me. Which was code for he was over twenty one and could get into bars and hook up with slutty chicks.

Already in pain, I felt a familiar stinging sensation on my foot."Son of.. a bee stung me!" The unfazed ex lover said "oh, maybe you should go and take care of that."


By then I knew that bees die after they sting so I felt a bit vindicated. From the bee anyway.

Instead of mud I lathered wet baking soda on the it and was fine after a hour.

 I only wished I could say more for my heart. The sting of rejection lingered a bit longer than the bee sting.

The last time a bee stung me was over the past summer. There was trouble brewing with a family member. My husband and I took his mom and sister to take care of some personal business.

That day I wore a sleeveless loose green and black stripped shirt. It was sheer so I had to wear a black camisole underneath. I jumped back into the van and the car moved along the bumpy road.

Then I felt it. The same sensation I recalled from a decade ago. "Uh I think I was just stung by a bee." I could feel my back swelling and the pain increasing. The breeze sending airy waves through my shirt didn't assist me in any capacity.

My sister-in-law looked at my back and confidently said "yup, you were stung, but there is no stinger." My husband looked down my back and made me take off the sheer green top.

There entangled in some loose threads was the bee, still alive. The stinger was stuck in the shirt.

"Ugh, kill that thing!" I screamed.

My husband who was more impressive than the former flame, jumped to action. He shook the shirt until the bee fell out and landed on the concrete. With an impressive swift motion he slammed his foot down on it.

Crunch! Damn right, that is for all the bees that stung me!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Processed, A Food Love Story By: Karen Pilarski

I read an article in The New Yorker written by actress and writer Lena Dunham titled "Deliverance."  

She discusses being raised on delivery food. Dunham and I must be kindred spirits or MSG twins. She has the other half of the greasy finger printed locket.

 Staples of my childhood were frozen pizza, macaroni and cheese and fish sticks. All generic brands, thank you very much.

I call it not, poor people meals -- but survival food. When times were impoverished, I would eat a can of corn or powdered sugar by the spoonful. In a family with nine children, my mom lacked patience, culinary skills and money. 

Today, I'm the apple that didn't fall too far from that tree in those three areas. However, my husband and kids never had to resort to such desperate means to eat. 

Dunham and her siblings often wore the parents down in the effort of fast food success. She said her father would say, “It’s a waste of money. It has too much oil. We have a fridge full of really nice, healthy food. But they can take only so much resistance. When the food arrives, I insist on shoveling it right out of the container, eyes trained on the TV." 

My siblings and I did that to our parents to escape the processed food cycle. Instead, we begged for McDonald's or Pizza Hut. Somehow we thought the meals would taste better than what was usually plopped and slopped down in front of us.

My dad loved learning about different cultures and would cook up different dishes. The kitchen was usually thick with smoke. "Dad must be cooking again," we would bemoan. 
I almost wished for SpaghettiOs and cool ranch Doritos. 

He would prop open the front door to air out the smelly air filled with seasoned salts and boiled fish. Opening the door meant letting the humiliation in. Neighbors would gawk and friends would yell in to see if I was around. 

"Dad, can we pleaseeee close the door?!" 

He would shake his head and make us turn on a beat up window fan. The food appeared and tasted detestable. My dad would make banana fritters that had brandy in them. He made Hungarian Goulash. By the evening's end our family looked forward to burnt Pop Tarts and Stoffer's TV dinners. 

On, writer Jeff Sherman discussed in his blog area restaurants that closed.
 He named several that he personally missed in Milwaukee. However, he may have skipped one. 

As a treat, my parents would take us to Shakey's Pizza in West Allis, Wis. Since I was eight years old, we would pack in the car -- if we had one at that time. It was a buffet-style restaurant that had smorgasbord of options. There was a salad and dessert bar. The freshly-made, non-processed pizza was a delight.
The pièce de résistance was the Mojos. It was thinly sliced potatoes lightly fried to oily goodness.

Every time my family went, we were given coins to use in the bubble gum machine. However, Shakey's Pizza didn't just have stick-on tattoos or the parachute guy. It had a Flintstones bubble gum machine. We lovingly named it the 'brock brock machine.' A big Fred Flintstone was in the middle, next to a worn out Dino. As soon as the coin drawer snapped in and out, the lights around it would be lit. Dino would twirl in a circle and Fred would shout, "YABA DABA DOOOOO DINOOOO LOVES YOUUUUUUU!"  

Plunk! A colorful egg would spit out.

As the years went by, the machine and Shakey's Pizza changed. The food choices at that location diminished and a rickety game room similar to Chuck E Cheese was created. The 'brock brock' also showed it's age. Dino's purple painted fur was dulling and Fred Flintstone smile was rubbed off. 

For old time’s sake, I put in a coin and pushed in the metal coin holder. The lights were burnt out. Dino didn't spin around and it sounded like Fred was possessed. "Yab Dooo, Din..O.. you." It sounded as if he was under water and gasping for a breath. It took forever and a day for the colorful egg to plop out. Clunk! A half green and purple cracked egg was the reward. 

Shakey's was a great place for my family to sit around a table and dine like a normal family. We celebrated birthdays there and bridal showers at that specific location. The last time I was there was for my own bridal shower in 2008. My aunt and my mom planned my shower while my aunt was dying from cancer. She died a few weeks before the event. It closed down shortly after I was married. 

Ironically, after my parents split up, my mom miraculously became a good cook. Apparently divorce and a new boyfriend worked wonders. I only got to indulge in her new found skill a handful of times as an adult. My husband prefers unprocessed foods and homemade dishes. However, I still crave a can of Ravioli from time-to-time like no one's business!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Grass is Always Greener By: Karen Pilarski

 There is an old adage that goes "The grass is always greener on the other side." When a person, thing or location is outside the normality of our lives, we tend view it as something far more spectacular. It is a sneaky aspect of of the daily grind. A seed of  irregular thought is planted and within days or weeks becomes a wild and untamed idea. The happiness and beauty of our own garden looks like weeds and brown grass in comparison to the other person's picturesque yard.

If the irrational thinking is not tended to then sore feelings start to fester. Eventually time and work invested was for naught. Icy glares and jealousy sprays a frost over what was planted. That is the precisely the second love and aspirations begin to die.

*Simone, a raven haired beauty wore her banged up heart on her sleeve. I felt a sisterly connection to her. She was street and book smart, dreamed big and loved hard. Those traits were things I admired about her. I could see my own past self in her warm brown eyes.

She enjoyed dancing and carefree days in her busy city. Simone ferociously tried to make her garden flourish yet heartbreak took a toll. Soon thoughts became frozen like flowers under wet snow. She thought a warmer climate would mean better conditions and a chance to thaw.

*Brenda, a married television writer was struggling to make ends meat. She worked at low rated television show. She had talent and promise to turn the show around. Her colleague was smart, kind and intelligent. He wasn't married but was seriously involved with another person. While her husband was handsome, smart and funny, he seemed to lack motivation.

She began to wish she was with her colleague and was jealous of his relationship. The colleague had money and a nice home. Brenda could barely pay the bills. While Brenda would never step outside her marriage she felt stagnant in her life. She wanted to a senior writer on a late night show that was highly rated. Someone she felt her successful colleague would provide her with what was missing.

In both cases the grass looked brighter and healthier. However, the reality can be deceptive. Often what is observed is not really what is there. Simone could move out of the area and be penniless and homeless. Brenda could hook up with the colleague who might turn out to be a controlling cheap jerk. The grass might actually be AstroTurf. It is tempting to run from problems and bad storms on the horizon. The truth is problems are like weeds, they seems to pop up where you least expect it. The weeds twist into dried knots and are impossible to pull out of the ground.

 Life and love take work, like a garden. It is fragile and valuable and if you are lucky worth all the thorny patches to make it grow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Don't Be A Follower In Life By: Karen Pilarski

Follow the leader was a childhood game played by everyone. There is a chosen leader and behind the leader are the followers standing in a line. Everything the leader does, the followers have to mimic it. My older siblings were often the leaders and would tell us to reenact embarrassing motions. It felt increasingly stupid to slap my head or yell "poop." Fortunately, the thrill of that game wore off after awhile.

My step children's mom and I were talking to my stepdaughter about the perils of Facebook. Freshly thirteen she was allowed to create an account. However, lately it was apparent she was blindly liking pages and videos that were not appropriate. The newly minted teen excels in school and in sports. She is kind and has a great sense of humor. Her mom blew me away with what she said next. "You are a leader, do you really want to be a follower?" I was very impressed by her words. It took me back to something I told my sister when she was in high school. My sister was caught doing something irresponsible and I accused her of not being original and being just a follower.

The internet is addictive and intoxicating. News filters through wires faster than breaking news on television. Not only do people have to worry about how people perceive them in reality but now they have a 'social media presence.' I use Facebook and Twitter as networking tools. I re-frame from using vulgar language and mean spirited remarks.

Recently I heard of story while watching "The View." There was an article in The New York Post about a college aged student named Rachael Sacks. She posted a rant about how she felt she was judged on a recent shopping trip. She wrote an essay titled“I’m not going to pretend that I’m poor to be accepted by you." The post went viral and now her icky sentiments are coming back to bite her. Her actual message was drowned by her insensitive verbiage.

She stated in The New York Post article "Maybe I didn’t frame it in the right way because people are missing the point: Which is no one should have to pretend they are what they aren’t." I read her original essay. Sacks seems to feel insecure about how others view her. This is not an unheard of emotion. Everyone feels insecure. She says people have been mean to her throughout her life. However, she doesn't explain the statement and it was bogged down with rude comments.

The reality is she isn't rich. Her father, an infertility doctor is wealthy. Sacks is young and immature. I have heard other college students say dumb things. One day she will grow up and have children of her own. The impulsive essay is going to follow her. The rambling created this nasty opinion of her. I certainly don't agree with her lack of concern for people in worse economic shape. To my surprise many people on social media made snide remarks about her looks. When there is a disagreement is it fair to attack a person's features? That only fuels the fire. Be up in arms about her values and beliefs but don't make degrading remarks about how she looks. Like any social media platform, there are people who blindly follow and repeat the same things.

"Boy Meets World" star Danielle Fishel recently tied the knot over the weekend. Instead of well wishes she was bombarded with hateful comments about her looks and weight. She took to Twitter to defend herself. She tweeted "I hope you'll look at your own miserable lives and learn to stop judging others on their weight and looks. Love and happiness wins again." In the stream of comments there were kind and beautiful words. Yet there were crappy comments calling her ugly and fat.

Powerful it feels for the losers hiding behind the veil of a screen. Their words are dirty and sticky like their keyboards. Perhaps hurling jabs at people helps keep the night alive, yet do they understand the impact? Amusing as it may be to screw with people, words have a habit of becoming like strings of chewed gum. Stringy filthy lines connecting to the mystery writer. The gooey substance like glue sticks to their social media presence. These low life people who follow the leader, well the gum is stretched and they are all caught up in the sticky mess.

Be a follower and go along with the pact or be the leader who rises above the immature and hateful behaviors. If being a follower is the right path, than find a good and trustworthy leader who does great things. The choice is in all of us.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Halloween, 90's Style By: Karen Pilarski

Crunchy dried leaves pushed in piles by a little foot. Walking on them sounds like crispy and crunchy potato chips. Random splotches of colorful trees underneath the gray undertones of the sky. Ghoulish and scary decorations on houses. Carved pumpkins on steps and balconies. Cute and terrorizing costumes in stores ready to be purchased. I love this time of year. No longer the dog days of summer and now there is a chill in the air.

While that was a highlight of my girlhood so was trick or treating. My favorite costume was the plastic Tinker Bell mask and the plastic dress with an outline of her body. There was breathing holes for the eyes, nostrils and mouth.  As I mentioned before my mom was creative and one year she took an old white coat and made me into a bunny rabbit. I detested that costume! It was very Ralphie from "A Christmas Story." Although not pink, it was a nightmare. I shared in his pain.

Nothing was more exiting than zig zagging from house to house in no particular pattern. After my brothers and sisters gathered our bags of candy, we dumped them out in the living room floor. We traded and made deals for the candy swap. The least liked candy was smarties and those black and orange wrapped taffies.

When I was in middle school Beverly Hills 90210 and Color Me Badd were the rage. No longer babies, trick or treating was pushed aside. Instead friends would have random Halloween parties. My childhood friend Tracy threw such a party in sixth grade. The plan was to dress up in costumes and watch slasher films and play the Ouija board. I was excited and told my mom that I wanted to Snow White for Tracy's party. Due to my family's strained economic status I was told it would have to be a homemade costume.

Fast forward to the night of the party, the bathroom door swung open and there was I. My eyes closed tightly in sheer embarrassment. I was dressed up as my mom's mini me. My brown hair was ratted and I wore one of my mother's baggy shirts. Underneath the shirt was made to look like I was expecting. You see my mom was pregnant at the time with baby number nine. This was eons before "Teen Moms" and "Juno." I waddled down the street with a sleeping bag and my dignity dragging on the floor.

During the shindig my friends pigged out on teen party necessities such as chips, soda and sugar. Tracy's mom said the first slasher flick was called "Offerings" (1989). Tracy and her mom teased there was going to be a surprise at the end.

We played a game where each of us were blind folded and had to stick our chubby little fingers in different bowls. First I put my hand in a bowl and felt something squishy and wet. When I pressed down something would spray my hand. I was informed it was 'eye balls.' Everyone shrieked. Next was someone with an eighties puffy perm. She put her hand in 'brains'. Screaming and wild laughter ensued. Blindfolds were ripped off in anticipation. Some 'liver' ended up smeared on my mom's shirt. Turns out the body parts were grapes, spaghetti noodles and liver from the store.

All my school friends took turns telling spooky stories. Although some were ripped off from Alvin Schwartz
"Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark." A good read by the way!

The night turned darker and we all changed into our nightgowns and spread out the sleeping bags in the rec room. Tracy's mom announced the pizza would be here soon. "Offerings" was started. Basically this was a slasher film were the man was befriended by a pretty blonde. He was severely hurt and disfigured in an accident. He comes back and sends 'gifts' to the blonde in the forms of body parts of people who wronged him.

The pizza arrived and as we all picked up a greasy slice of cheese and meat heaven we noticed in the movie a pizza was delivered. The deranged man gave his love interest a pizza with ears on it! One of the girls at the party dropped her slice and it plopped on her plate. More shrieking and screaming and Tracy looking smug.

I miss the days of pretending to be someone else for at least a day. Long gone are the days of eating nothing but sugar concoctions without worrying about calories and cholesterol. I can't even live trick or treating vicariously through my step children anymore. They are now in middle and high school. There are many times I feel my childhood well..blew. When thoughts turn dark, I can think back to being a kid. I'm happy I have the memories of my youth to make a cold fall day a little bit warmer.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

There Goes My Hero By: Karen Pilarski

 Every year during Oscar Award shows mom would sigh over the memorials. "Oh, not so and so!" As a kid I would shake my head. I didn't recognize the faces as the somber music played.  It wasn't until I was older that I understood why she was upset. It is hard coming to terms with a role model becoming older.

Fans and parents have been up in arms over Miley Cyrus sticking out her tongue and singing about drugs. When she was younger she portrayed a glittered and blonde superstar named Hannah Montana. Her 'normal' self was a chocolate haired and casually dressed girl. Hannah's hijinks were tame compared to real life shenanigans of younger people in the public eye. Eventually the Disney tween grew up. Yet her fan base seemed reluctant to let go of the old persona.

As most teens do, Cyrus rebelled  but her battle was against the typecast. Her hair now shortened and bleached blonde. Lips are painted a sultry color. Her style of music, clothes and dance moves are revealing and raw.

Parents are typical in the resistance of letting their children become adults. In older eyes little ones still have missing teeth, bruised arms and scratched off fake tattoos. Even though Cyrus is not their daughter, she is held up as "America's daughter." Forever fourteen going on fifteen. The pint sized group who grew up watching Cyrus have trouble seeing her as an adult.

Last week I read on Twitter that radio host Casey Kasem was having significant health problems. To my bewilderment, realized Kasem was in his 80's.

As a kid I loved listening to the radio countdown on Sundays to see if my favorite song hit number one. Kasem would read the long distance dedications. He was my radio hero, with his way of invoking empathy through the radio lines. Tears would stain my cheek listening to the person's situation. The beat of each word he spoke had emotion in each syllable. He was my radio hero.

Kasem had a soothing voice . His show was relaxing and hip and cool.  I couldn't get over the fact that he was in his 80's. I knew I was getting older by the aches and grey hairs. Foolishly I never contemplated my heroes aging. Just like my mom, I would become saddened when I would hear of of a sudden passing of a personal favorite like Bea Arthur or Don Knotts.

The situation with Cyrus is not different. We remember others in a certain light and it is a hard concept to shake. When people think of child star Macaulay Culkin often the picture of a fuzzy red sweater and hands slapped on the face is envisioned. Culkin is a tad younger than I am now. It is hard to think of him as an adult and struggling actor even though I too am a struggling artist. Cyrus is a talented singer wanting to stay relevant in a main stream society.

Foo Fighters had a song called "My Hero" in the 1990's. The song is about someone the singer looks up to however, it is astonishing to realize the hero with all the bells and whistles of super powers is actually a normal human being. 

Cyrus and Kasem are typical people who change and become older in time. It doesn't diminish their influence and accomplishments. Reality diminishes the facade that all heroes remain young and frozen in time. All role models lose their way or change their tunes. If we remember that notion, than we can mature along with our beloved heroes and allow their legacies to live on. More importantly, allow the ones we idolize to develop new talents and accolades. Otherwise we are no different than parents who can't cut the umbilical cord and let their kids go. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Turn That Frown Around By: Karen Pilarski

Julie Andrews was very wise in the "Sound of Music." She sang about her favorite things to pull her out of her funk. This afternoon was icky which worked out perfectly since I felt sick. My husband found out he has the flu. I've been engaged in a to the death battle with germs all week. As if that wasn't bad enough someone sent a snarky email about me without realizing my email addy was still attached to the message chain. My muscles hurt immensely from working out with kettle balls. I can't sit or stand without wincing. Ouch.

I spent my evening putting a cold compress on my husband's forehead and going on Twitter and Facebook. An award winning writer named Molly Campbell (@mollydcampbell) tweeted the following "There is a $20 bill on my bureau. I leave it there so I can always feel a tiny bit rich. " It was funny and made me think about the small or silly things that make me smile or feel better. Julie Andrews was onto something inspirational in that movie. I pondered a few minutes and wrote down things that make me happy.

1. Hot Green tea with honey- It is comforting and soothes my parched throat. I feel cozy when holding the hot cup.

2. Ratty pink robe- While it isn't being worn, it is laying on my bed like Linus and the blue blanket.I figure if I feel ratty, I might as well look like it. My pink robe is my security blanket.

3. Comedy Central Roasts- There is something victorious when the one being roasted turns the tables on the insulting comedians.Sure it is scripted, but it shows how these brave roastees take a punch. Yet, they punch back harder.

4. Braiding wet hair- I don't own a curling iron so I substitute it with putting damp hair in tiny braids. I let it stay in braids over night. In the morning I have crimped/wavy hair.

5. Random cash discoveries- While not like winning the jackpot, it is small wins that cheer me up. Excited and astounded to dig in a pocket and pull out a few crinkled dollar bills. I call this coffee money.

6. Chilled Peppermint Patties- I adore the scent and taste of mint. The cooling sensation on my tongue when biting into a minty wonderland. My sweet husband buys them and hides them in the fridge for me. A double surprise.

7. Antique stores- I'm a struggling writer who is low on funds. My financial situation doesn't block me from window shopping. My creative mind creates a story of older items. What is the history of these vintage things. Who owned it before?

8. The View-Whoopi Goldberg is wonderful. She has wit, tact, and wisdom. Most of all she is amusingly honest. While I'm educated with a MA degree, I'm not a political person. Her explanations are helpful for people like me who lack that type of knowledge.Her shoes are awesome and splashy. She just simply rocks.

9. Zumba- Sure it is mortifying to shake my butt while others are watching. I do feel a sense of sensuality when I swerve my hips or roll my arms in a sexy way. The base of the music thumps so loudly I forget I'm in a gym and not in a nightclub. A major plus when working out is my husband raises his eyebrows and a flirty grin appears. Oh I still got it.

10. Coffee talk- I love my stepchildren equally. I love that my stepdaughter and I have time for girl bonding time. We walk up to the local coffeehouse and talk about anything. My heart is happy we have that tradition to look forward too.We laugh about how dorky boys can be and she fills me in on the drama of middle school.

I left a few things out of my list but that is fine. While thinking about my icky day I realized there is so much that puts me in a better mood. A glass of red wine or doing crosswords. Blogging is my therapy. So many wonderful things that suffocate the ill tidings from my day. In the midst of documenting what makes me smile, I forgot about the small things that made me feel icky in the first place. As Andrews sang "When the dogs bite and the bees sting, and when I'm feeling sad. I just think of my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Anchor By: Karen Pilarski

The water of life is hardly still. Choppy icy waves hitting and snarling at the ship. Water slapping and splashing the already tear soaked faces. Bumpy movements and thrashing winds interrupted the once tranquil trip. A heavy anchor is lowered to keep the vessel weighed down.

The cold metal mass can symbolize a source of negativity and badness within us. The mass is malignant if we allow it to be. The negative emotions could spread and cause puncture marks as it shifts.

The anchor weighs a ton and hooks onto the bottom of our souls. It cuts deeply and could potentially break us if we let it. The body of craft creaks as the chain and rope strain to push the anchor down. Pasting on a brave front as the heaviness is hidden. The turmoil is secured below the surface, but oh the pain is felt. Every fallen tear or gloomy eyes reflects what is obscured.

Life and weather seem to consistently change with passages of seasons and time. It seems after one horrific tsunami of a battle ceases another one is beginning to build up. While the anchor can keep things and feelings secured in one spot, the ship wants to keep moving. Being stuck in the middle of the ocean and no freedom to sail causes resentment.

Throughout out all the raging storms and harsh words the ship and passengers managed not to capsize. At the certain tense moments many may drift apart. Miraculously after confronting and pushing through the dramatic climax, calm was eventually restored.

The anchor fulfills a double purpose either keeping the ship still or making the ship stuck in one place.  The meaning is in the hands of the one manning it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Suffering for Art By Karen Pilarski

My thirteen year old step daughter Mia and I were having a lovely conversation over the weekend. We went to the coffee house on a college campus. Lounging in comfy chairs and sipping hot drinks with fall type aromas. Acoustic versions of Maroon 5 songs played softy.

We were discussing brains since this is a new passion for her. She wants to be a doctor when she older and help cure cancer. She was inspired by the tragic loss of loved ones and beating cancer for others. In college I studied professional communication and instructional design (adult education) in graduate school. She excitedly chatted away about fascinating elements of the brain and its superb power.

Mega Mia
As I mentioned I never studied biology except in 10th grade. I said "I wonder why do babies fall asleep in their food and not seem to mind?" She paused and pressed her finger to her lips, contemplating. "A baby's nervous system isn't developed enough.  There sensitivity is not at an adult level." I said "Wow, that makes sense." A mischievous smile spread across the young face. "Oh, I totally just made that up!" She laughed loudly as my cheeks flushed. You got to give it to her, she knows how to exaggerate and speak eloquently.

 I have said it before, one day "Mega Mia" will rule the world. I made up the nickname because she is so sweet yet underhanded and slick.We also discussed how people don't use all portions of their minds. We said it is funny how creative types are very intuitive and sensitive. I made the point that creative people tend to fully feel the effects of suffering.

Our conversation stuck in my head over the past few days. I was flipping channels and "Alf" was on. The 80's show about a troll looking alien that crashed into a house of a suburban family. He spends the duration of the show acclimating himself to his new life.

The episode was Alf trying to create a masterpiece to impress an art professor. The daughter in the show was taking a class and trying to get a good grade. Alf makes it his mission to 'suffer' for his art. He sings sad music and various other self depreciating methods to make art. His painting was hideous yet the art professor loved it. Funny how 80's television nostalgia can inspire a blog post but it did. What does it mean to truly suffer and suffer for 'art'?

In life to achieve a dream, sacrifices are made. It could be a lack of sleep, food and costs of relationships. When people feel melancholy they may cry, eat ice cream, drink a beer or sulk. For creative minds the somber and joyful moods are used to produce art. It may not even be from their own lives but hearing someone's befallen or happy tale. As a writer, I use music to assist me with defining feelings. Suddenly my fingers tap along the keyboard and before I know it I have written something that came from deep in my heart. Writers create because they have loved, suffered and endured.