scrumptious monkey

so much more than an amp -- and yet, not.



I'm thinking of grouping all the reviews together -- dunno, perhaps opening up December 2004 as a place to tuck them in sequence, and just note them in new posts with links up top.

yes it is the un-fulfilled librarian in me that needs to make it all organized and logical.
damn Virgo rising...

Rock Me Baby


you know I just love Eric's version of this tune -- it's so damn incongrueous with his almost Disney-ana squeaky clean wholesomeness though.

Rock me baby, rock me all night long
Rock me baby, honey, rock me all night long
I want you to rock me baby,
like my back ain't got no bone

Roll me baby, like you roll a wagon wheel
I want you to roll me baby,
like you roll a wagon wheel
Want you to roll me baby,
you don't know how it makes me feel

Rock me baby, honey, rock me slow
Yeah, rock me pretty baby, baby rock me slow
Want you to rock me baby, till I want no more

by B.B. King

well golly gee, for a fella who generally sings ambiguous, though spiritually uplifting lyrics that's some heat to be packing, Pards.
makes me wonder if he ever gets to clawing the furniture, himself.


You do realize people who talk about sex all the time aren't getting any.
Which explains why they have the energy to talk about it.



if you're looking for reviews -- they're all in July.
figured keeping them together was easier to manage..?

San Diego

gotta love the blog-edit functions. =)


As I've stated to various inquiries and made numerous mentions here --

I use my real name on the forum, mostly because the EJ-list was the first thing I signed up for (once I figured how to do it!) and had no idea about screen nicknames and what all.

Yes, we are discreet on the public boards. Although it can be HARD to keep my big mouth shut so I do tend to babble on and on in the blog.
Behind the thin screen of Jeen Lilly.

shush. ****s my secret identity! lol.

I have a few acoustic shows but there's always room for more -- and I don't have anything at all from the recent tour, so that'd be terrific to get my ears around!

The way I feel about EJ's live material is that I would absolutely buy anything he put out, because the production and packaging would be quality all the way and it would support-the-artist... but for reasons I detail on the blog -- I am shameless about snagging all the material that is "out there" -- just because I find all his work enriching and worth listening to.
If and when I ever get "BUSTED" --
well mea culpa.

If Eric himself wants to spank me... nah, I'd probably dig that waaaay to much , lol.

yes... no one is a villian in their own eyes. lol.


Limbo rock...zzzzzzz....

hmmm if it wasn't for spammers, I'd get no comments at all most days.
But this sort of thing just annoys me.

“Hey, I think your blog is cool -- come read my blog. ”

first of all if you left an interesting comment on my blog, I'd look you up and read it automatically -- but since all you are doing is trawling for readers -- I'll delete your butt from my blog and hope that sends you the message you deserve, SparKetra69R. sheesh.

Bloggers have the option of turning on a word verification screener for comment writers -- so as to eliminate automatic spamming.

Human spammers should all end up in a great big drum of baked beans.

on the other hand, comments are great. I love 'em.
You mean -- someone not only took the time to read what i wrote here -- they were incited to tell me about it? woo hoo.
no make thatImage hosted by
most of my stuff would be interesting to a limited audience...mmmm, audient? to begin with...

The human
is brief,
but sensual,
and sweet.
Through our minds
(with a great
of imagination)
we can
all other

oh yes by
all means
let us not
be timid
with letters
or thoughts;
come with me
in a reign of love
a solitary feast alone
before the screen:
all words
just words
f'n around.
Dangerous reams
dangerous sounds.
just words.

Kick Start My Heart Daddy.
vroom vroom zoom
Born to do it,
dying to live...
but here I sit
in my little room


NPR -- when did they become so hip?...

Yesterday -- Richard Thompson.
last week -- EJ.
Can Eric doing Prairie Home Companion be far behind?...


Boy-oh-Boyardi and Ramen! *

Great Goddess -- I knew there was a reason I am compelled to serve pasta on the esabbats. This is one of the Internet's finer applications, IMHO.

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism

even got a write up in Wikipedia
* title swiped from FSM site commentator
Steve Lawrence, PhD

Hi Lonesome Rodeo Girl

Cowboys do it for me.
that's the short version. I'm not talking the big studly Madison Avenue Icon Cowboy; more often than not those guys give nothing but façade: I'm talking a capable, sinewy, good with his hands, modest, appreciative, hard working, horse whispering, big-animal-lovin' Cowboy.
lol. Must play guitar.

So where have all the Cowboys gone?...

Today I caught up with a friend of mine who writes Historical, "period porn". That's the perfect description -- and she laughs and admits it. We were talking about archetypes for our protagonists and having a giggle over the bare chested ultra macho heroes on Romance novel covers. She asked me who my current favorite "Romantic hero" is -- and I admitted Lord John Grey.
She groaned, "Oh jeez, once a fag hag always a fag hag."
As you can guess, the tea is usually laced with strychnine when we get together for our warm little tété-á-tétés.
I reminded her that both our top ten lists for romantic heroes tend towards the not so black and white clear cut classic macho types. Sure, I adore Diana Gabaldon's better known dish of a studly hero (that'd be Jamie Fraser of the "Outlander" series.) but even in the Outlander books Lord John had a special appeal.
He's so damn intelligent, for one thing.
And yes -- he's Odd.
I have a sweet tooth for Odd Balls.

So we exchanged hostages -- I mean, works in progress -- and read them for each other.
The working title for my current project is "22".

in a nutshell: Alan Hurston has abducted his 22nd victim in his “career” as a rapist and serial killer; Mardi Eising is not quite the victim she would appear to be.
lol. emphasis on the nutshell.

Where do ideas come from, you may well ask -- and if writers write about what they know...

I don't like "true crime" non-fiction; I prefer my horror stories to be archetypical, though I also go for distant anthropological stuff. Human behavior fascinates me -- tales of greed and stupidity irritate me -- especially when they come out the winning hand. I got the idea for “22” from thinking about what a truly horrible, monster in human form would be like -- since you usually can't tell them at a glance. It would be incredibly helpful if they radiated a nasty aura, or smelled bad -- some indication that the inner workings were curdled, at the very least. My personal experience with sociopaths help me to get inside Hurston's head: I've never come across a villian yet who saw himself as a villian. There's ALWAYS a justification for the actions.
Mardi is an utter trip. In her own way she's a bigger monster than Hurston. Writing this story has been a fun ride, let me tell you.

My friend put down my manuscript several times just to walk across the room to stare at me. The 3 chapters she showed me from her book were ok -- formula, but that's what she writes. Since my work is never going to be published and her's might, I really can't go into details on her stuff.

we got to talking over the larger reality -- I have notes on the 21 previous victims (for my reference); I have notes about Mardi's normal day-to-day details and her backstory; and my friend thinks I need to add a protaganist "good guy" who's looking for Hurston. I said the story isn't about that. I also think that there are more monsters than there are heroes, and hey why shouldn't Mardi get to be her own hero? She does all the work, and some Cowboy-detective rides in and takes the credit?...

Narf. But of course now that she's put that idea in my head, I've got a Texas Ranger / FBI type good guy walking around on the parameter of the story.

Nice men give me a pain.
in the heart.
I personally don't know any "nice guys". I've read about them -- but I don't think they truly exist. Well neither do I think all men are serial killers and rapists, excuse me, but there are nice guys, and then there are nice guys.

Funny how the first story i decide to talk about here is such a sensationalist lurid cesspool. [shakes head]
moving right along, how about those Mets..?


Diz and Bird, Dis and Dat...

I cut the review and shoved it over to the forum....
I dunno... seemed the right place for it.

That's what I spent most of Yesterday doing -- listening to this previously unreleased recording of a live Town Hall concert from 60 years ago. It is sickeningly, hysterically good. As the DH says, "BC -- Before Camarillo."

Of course, this makes me think of all the shows on tape sitting in EJ's closet... no, it makes me pine for them. Paul (a forum guitar player) mentioned in a post how much he hopes to see / hear some live recordings from EJ -- and that sent me chewing on the woodwork again. *sigh*.

There is nothing like hearing live music. Truly so few of the popular artists that get played on the radio produce anything worth listening to in their studio schist -- none of them interest me at all in spending an evening listening to their schtick "live". I'd rather stay at home with a good book and my headphones, thanks.

Rather than pay big bucks to see a "national HOT act" I'd rather go see a bar band do covers, to tell you the truth. At least in that situation you're getting genuine playing and real enthusiasm.

But Eric...
I want to see and hear and BE there.
at the very least... hear it. All of it.
is that too much to ask?


Hope he had a nice one.

Yes, Happy Birthday EJ.
[I'm looking for an appropriate picture.
email me if you have one! =)]


Nite Owl /poem: eggshells

ok, it's official.
I don't sleep at night anymore.

My internal clock seems to have sprung a spring, I guess. I've always been inclined to "stay up late" but over the past month I've found myself energized and looking for things to do at 3:30am as if it were midmorning.

I'm looking for a nap around 2pm.

of course it has nothing at all to do with the fact I can't sleep in the same room with Rob. pfft.
How did I ever end up in this situation?
It's the juxtaposition of everyone else's marital woes.
Usually it's the wife who grows coldly distant and shuts off sexual intimacy...isn't it?
God. I can't even get that cliché right.

We aren't
so very fragile now
at our feet
slimey awkward creatures
outgrown from each other.
kill their birthmates
that's just nature's way...
But thank you
for the nest
and the incubation time.
get out of Dodge, pard.
get out before "it's him or me".
Nothing Personal.
Just the way things come apart
when their usefulness
is over.

guitar rag porn

And how long did you think I could go without bringing up my favorite vortex of time?...

You know... some things just don't lend themselves to good natured kidding. I'm going out on a limb here because I am examining my own vulnerabilities. I admit I've got a thing for Eric: to a certain extent, I can joke about it -- I myself find it amusing... but there is a creepy subtext to it: objectifying a person; and using him or her as a fantasy sexual object.

Eric Johnson is a whole buncha lotta things, but without glancing at more than the surface, he is a VERY good looking man. Do chicks dig the hair? I guess so -- it's part of the package although EJ'd still be gorgeous shaved down to nuthing. (I joke about that because I'm sure a few ladies find him appealing just because he has nice hair. Which is sort of like appreciating the Grand Canyon just because you like rocks.)
With Eric you get devastating blue eyes, a killer smile, leonine features, a still boyishly slender body, height... and good personal hygiene. (gentlemen: NEVER underestimate good personal hygiene!)

Not a bad launch pad for a simmering libido to spring off from.

Now -- correct me if I'm wrong, but guys seem to feel the physical presentation is the end all be all of fueling a fantasy. Should the need for conversation arise in the playground of your mind, the dialog will be a generic lift from a porno movie (girl with a rack and long silky hair walks up to you in a strip club and breathily asks, "Is this seat taken?" as she procedes to straddle your thighs).

Personality also is not a big deal when guys are getting off: but I am only guessing since this is what I perceive in the study of various "gentlemen's magazines" I have perused over the years. Nope -- seems to be stiff nipples, pouty lips in either direction and rounded bottoms that do the trick. Dominique "Nikki's" list of turn ons are just so much filler. Which is ok. You are never ever EVER gonna have a conversation with that woman IRL. The very idea of it likely puts a damper on your enthusiams.

Whereas, fellas... women's fantasies involve talking.
Ok... well, mine do.

Speaking for myself, I need a lot more going on than good looks -- which are nice, I'll admit that.
But I like men to begin with and am inclined to find most men attractive once they've scrubbed and shaved.
yes, I prefer clean shaven men... except in rare cases.
Personality does indeed trump facial hair.
Now, if you have a sense of humor, some intelligence between your ears, and a great speaking voice -- I'm already half in love with you.
I am DEEPLY affected by sound.

Which brings us right back to Mr. Johnson.
Have I mentioned he gives excellent... sounds.
The latest Guitar Player Magazine (September 2005 issue) has quite a bit of substance to it: several ads, the article, the contents page and the cover all provide a visual feast for absolute piggish behavior on my part.

I feel guilty about it. Mostly because I joked about the copies of GP I have kept over the years (almost all have EJ featured in them) and I wryly referred to them one day as my porn collection... which is how my husband now refers to it.
Why does this bother me at all?..

Because the idea of reducing Eric to the same base as Vanessa of the Vivacious Vagina tells me things about myself I don't like, that's why.
Which is one amongst many good reasons I'd rather be shot than have to ever EVER exchange speech with Eric.

It has been argued that the one sure cure to "getting over" a fixation is to bring the cold shower of reality into play -- that would be, meeting EJ and having the reality stomp out the fantasy of the guy. Which undoubtably it would do....

I never said I wanted to get rid of the fantasy, did I?
Ohh and I do have a hundred rationales to hold onto it...


You're Beautiful

There's a song I've heard flipping stations -- it's mostly a schizophrenic hodge-podge, but it has an incredible hook:

My life is brilliant.
My love is pure.
I saw an angel.
Of that I'm sure...

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause I'll never be with you.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it's time to face the truth,
I will never be with you.

hmmm unrequited love for an inaccessible dream.... nah, what would I know about that?...

Angels are too gently good
to know the passions that play
through humans with desires
that never pass into day.

In dreams I am in love's arms
writhing closer, naked, wanting;
free from moral certitudes
or body images daunting.

Sleep it's said is a feast
consumed without the guilt;
no angel walks my torrid soul
I'd fear his halo'd wilt!

The being that sends me relief
is made of stiffer stuff
surprising and uncompromising
reaching deeper into self:

and that is the crux of all religions,
be they fearsome or love based ~
that dreams we taste when deep asleep
might find us when we wake.


Haiku -- Abi gezunt.

I love Haiku. 17 syllables on the nature of nature.
There's a charming little collection called Haikus for Jews which takes the form and trips the reform fantastic with it.
You don't have to be Kosher to enjoy a little literate knosh -- just a Mensch.

Denmark's Jewish prince --
"To be or not to be -- Oy!
Have I got tsuris."
BLT on toast --
the rabbi takes his first bite,
then the lightning bolt.
Jewish triathlon --
gin rummy, then contract bridge,
followed by a nap.
Looking for pink buds
to prune back, the mohel tends
his flower garden.
Shedding its wet skin
the spritzing seltzer bubble
becomes a Buddha.
Testing the warm milk
on her wrist, she beams -- nice, but
her son is forty.
A lovely nose ring --
excuse me while I put my
head in the oven.
Monarch butterfly,
I know your name used to be
Hava nagila,
hava naglia, hava --
enough already.

The songs we sing to each other

you know, I always thought the first line was
"Didn't I make you feel like you'd want to own me...."
guess because it's all about...
being treated like "a thing" that just doesn't matter.

Didn't I make you feel like you were the only man, well yeah,
An' didn't I give you nearly everything that a woman possibly can ?
Honey, you know I did!
And each time I tell myself that I, well I think I've had enough,
But I'm gonna show you, baby, that a woman can be tough.

I want you to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it,
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby, (break a..)
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah. (come on)
Hey! Have another little piece of my heart now, baby, yeah.
You know you got it if it makes you feel good,
Oh yes indeed.

You're out on the street looking good, and baby,
Deep down in your heart I guess you know that it ain't right,
Never never never never never never never hear me when I cry at night.
Baby, I cry all the time!
And each time I tell myself that I, well I can't stand the pain,
But when you hold me in your arms, I'll sing it once again.

I'll say come on, come on, come on, come on, yeah take it!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby. (break a..)
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah, (have a…)
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby, yeah.
Well, You know you got it, child, if it makes you feel good

I need to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it,
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby. (break a…)
Break another little bit of my heart, honey, yeah. (have a)
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby,
You know you got it (waaaaahhh)

Take a…Take another little piece of my heart now, baby. (break a…)
Break another little bit of my heart, and darling, yeah yeah (have a)
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby,
You know you got it, child, if it makes you feel good

if you've ever been in love with someone who just doesn't know what love is, this is your anthem.

I've come to the realization that my husband of 16 years prefers the song "I drink Alone."
always has.
Now I am a patient and loving person. I have a generous sense of humor and well developed appreciation of the weird and inexplicable. I love my husband. I love him and he doesn't love, need, or want me in any physical application of the term, and I think it is past the time for us to part ways.

I wrote this for Rob.
As with everything I do... what I do for him is also for me.


I am cleaning out what seems like 8 years
of debris from the room I used to live in
B.C. (Before Computer): an hour a day,
throwing crap away. He started pontificating
about combining our books in the one room,
like the record collection in his office and I said,
"You don't get it. I am cleaning this out because
this is the end of Us: I want to know the love
of a good man in my heart, in my head,
and between my legs before I die.
I am going to sort it all out as I sort the room out.
What goes to charity, what gets thrown away.
You have used up all the charity I had for you."
My words spiraled out of me into his ear
and sobered him: when I moved
another load onto the love seat for sorting
I saw shadows of tears in his face.
And the house sits shiva as our corpse chills down.

Master Mechanic of things... and Her Heart.

Friend of mine just wrote a truly exemplary piece on her dad on her blog. The reason it's a fine piece of writing is because like all work that merits the name "ART" it generates and inspires the need to create in the observer. Whether it is the intent of the creator or not -- and I usually find art when the intent is other than the creation of ART -- art is the key we use to unlock the doors of perception.

August 29, 1976 was the day my father died.

He and I had a difficult relationship. The only common ground we seemed to have was music appreciation; and at that we never really shared enthusiasm.
But I could make him laugh.


wrote this for another board where the question was asked,
How much do you know about your parents? How they met, their favorite food, the music that they listened to. Today's generation is so hung up on technology, the art of passing family history by word of mouth is virtually lost. A lot is missed in reading the family tree. Stories passed along by relatives are rich with feeling and stick longer in a young and forming mind.

Take a moment and reflect. How much do you know about your foundation.

I'm in my mid 40's with older brothers and sisters -- I grew up in the era when families ate supper together at 6:00pm every night but Sunday -- when supper was the day long midday event. In my family, evening meals together meant after dinner coffee and “chat”.
Face to face talking and listening to one another.

No one was excused and no one would have looked for a reason to be excused; Mom and Dad had us for our entertainment value: this was understood.
It was not a matter of just being amusing and informative, nothing so cut and dried as services rendered for the opportunity of existence: we were an interactive audience.

Mother was a Goddess of Sarcasm, equally worshipped and feared for the cutting tongue that could reduce the slow witted to brain salad jullienne. Pop was "Babe" the youngest of his own family and High King of his own domain. My parents had no problem communicating, and they LOVED to make each other laugh.
Making them laugh was sharing in the pleasure of good company.
Yes I know their stories.
I know about my Grandparents, and the people they came from.

I started writing when I realized what I'd had was rare even for those times: when I'd go to friend's for dinner no one talked beyond "pass the butter": the meal ended and the adults picked up; the kids disburst. Worse would be the feeling that since there was an outsider everyone was to be on their "company" manners. No surprise, eating at my house was very popular... a bit of a culture shock, as we were working class poor and most of my friends from school were securely middle class or better.

My Father died 29 years ago, but he's still a presence in my life. In my dreams -- he's never left. My mom, bless her heart is still amongst the living and just as irrascible as ever.

She's never remarried. She'll tell you she can't be bothered with "Putting up with any man's nonsense." 5 minutes later she'll say something nice about Pop.

It's a complicated thing; but I think she still loves him, and she's pissed he left her. (his side of the family tends to be rather short lived; he had heart problems, died of a coronary at 49 -- two years after his first massive heart attack.)

Man, I'm betting Pop will have opted for reincarnation to dodge the wrath of Lucille when she finally shuffles off this mortal coil....



Tom over on the EJ forum came up with the oath of the Knighthood of Shining Tone:

"I solemnly swear and commit to:
Uphold the tone, even at the cost of my mind;
Meter even handed technique tempered with emotion;
Assist and inspire others;
and to strive to compose with beauty at all times."

Do I love this!! That's perfect.
now we need a shield, and Latin motto.

Much better than Vortexan, the superhero. No spandex tights or superheroic superpowers needed.

very cool, Cairde. =)


Nick's Uptown (slight return...)

Just revised the review of Nick's Uptown.
I'll be doing that quite a bit(revising) since most of the reviews were first impression OMG deer-in-the-headlights reactions.

and of course I can just sit here and listen to this stuff through headphones for the rest of my life....
okay, okay -- I'll take 'em out of the house on the walkman and get some exercise, too...


How to build a better header...

oy. I can host and post -- but I can't figure out the %^&*#!! tags for the header space.
I'd like to slip one of these in...

0RaceCar Casual DNA
Miss Lankfort

right now I'm using the Tempus Sans ITC .ttf in the headerspace... which you can only see if you have Tempus Sans ITC in your systems font folder.

I'll figure it out. I may need to teach myself how to write a template from scratch, but I'll get it. eventually.
This, I wish I could take a class in....


Greek Myths

I'm having a bit of an emotional time, lately.

I'm not that healthy. lol. maybe you picked up on that through a few of the posts here. I need to take better care of myself and I seem to have a (reluctant) career in it if I want to improve the quality of my life.
All well and good. I try to take care of myself.
But I really suck at it.

What I love to do -- what I have always done -- is listen to music, write, and read. Really, that's about it. I cook when I have to -- I clean house when I MUST; what used to be my salvation and escape from the heeps o' humiliations and stresses of my life has become my life. essentially.

It's rather odd to be ... so prominent on the forum.
I'm a background shadow IRL and I like it that way, but I got a PM from someone last night that kind of made me see I'm a major flavor of the boards over there -- and possibly intimidating to other members.
It was flattering and appalling at the same time.

words in print... you never know who they're going to cut, prop up, shatter, or give hope to. I've always known words on a page....

My sister Kee taught me to read far before I was speaking in sentences. I was reading "Beginner Books" on my own at 3. I slept with books in my crib; not for me the risk of having a book crayoned in; I punched the neighbor kid in the nose for taking a red crayon to my copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Jerk.

oh. By the way. I collect books; children's books in particular. I have all the Harold books.

There was one book I didn't go out of my way to find that had a major influence on my life as a kid. It was (as I realized down the road) a rather obscure work by a writer named Olivia Coolidge titled "The Trojan War". It came into our house in a carton of hand me downs from one of "The Aunts" -- most likely Aunt Bunny.

She and Uncle Bud raised 6 boys and they had an actual room in their house that was a Library. Most of the stuff we received from Bud and Bunny were "guy things" but that didn't stop me from reading any of it.

My cousin Peter (their youngest) was a good friend of mine through most of my childhood: very gentle and quiet and kind. His best friend was their next door neighbor, Shaun: a beautiful blond blue eyed quiet kid who happened to be deaf. I'm sure the two of them raised hell like all boys do, but not around me. The three of us would walk on the beach (oh yeah, these relatives lived one street in from Milford beach on Long Island Sound)Peter and I would talk some, and laugh a lot... and I'd smile at the two of them talking.
Smiling, it should be noted, was a very rare occurence in my childhood.

Not surprisingly, music was never a subject with us.

back to this carton of books.

I'm not even sure it was from Aunt Bunny, but it was a box of books meant for my teenaged siblings and I got the dregs of it. How Green Was My Valley, Panther's Moon, The Wrath and the Wind, and a copy of The Trojan War... the only one with pictures in it, and pretty interesting pictures too. the first one that caught my eye was a bearded guy raising a sacrificial knife to the back of a girl on an altar, a ghostly fawn rising from her body.

written on the facing page was the name, "Iphigenia". I knew it was the girl's name, but I didn't have a clue on how to say it out loud. Almost all the names I'd never seen in print before.

This was COOL.
I was 5. Not quite 6.

I took the book to Kee and asked her how to pronounce "that name". She didn't know either, but pointed out there was a phonetic break down in the back of the book for Characters and Places; so I could look it up if I wanted to.

She was 16 and had other interests by this time. Not to mention she knew if I had a book in my hands I would be quiet and out of the way for the day.

I labored over the book. But the rewards were worth it.

"Iphigenia was lead out to the sacrifice. The knife of the slayer rose and fell. Only the gods knew that what seemed her lifeless body was really that of a fawn, since Artemis might demand but would not actually accept such an offering. The goddess snatched up Iphigenia in her arms and carried her off to the far distant land of Tauris to serve as a priestess there.

The corpse lay on the altar. men looked up from the sacrifice to see the changing of the wind. Instantly all was confusion as each hurried down to his ship, drowning the memory of the deed they had allowed in the thoughts of the glory to come. The fleet put out from Aulis, but by their crime the heroes had entered on a war that, though glorious, was to be grim. A little urn full of ashes was all that came back to many and many a home. Numbers fell fighting in battle, and the seas drowned countless more.

Ten years passed slowly. In Ithaca, Queen Penelope wept nightly for Odysseus, her lord. In the restless kingdom of the Myrmidons, the failing Peleus struggled vainly for order, longing for the help of his son. In Mycenae, Clytemnestra kept her husband's axe sharp and bright. Agamemnon's people looked eagerly for their king's return, and Clytemnestra waited too, that in the moment of her husband's triumph she might murder him."

~ from chapter 5, Iphigenia, The Trojan War, by Olivia Coolidge.

I got through the whole thing while putting up with Kindergarten. I hated Kindergarten. I'd sit sullen and bored while the perky as hell teacher had us color in workbooks and learn the shapes of letters and numbers, my mind thinking about the chapters that were getting easier to read with each turn of the page. I'd read all night by the light of a flashlight... which just left me listless during the daytime anyway.

I don't know how this book took such a beating, but the binding split and the pages started getting spongey like pulp paper does. By the time I was in the 6th grade half the book was gone. Horrible child that I was, if I'd had found a copy at any library I would have stolen it from the stacks. Fortunately I was saved from heading down the path of a life of crime by the lack of good taste of my library aquisitons technician. I tossed the remains when I was 14.

I should have held a funeral.

I mentioned this book on the blog before (Tales of Brave Ulysses)and had a vague notion that I might look for it now that I was online. I'm pretty sure I saw Amazon had it -- but I didn't order it.

so imagine my surprise when I got a box from last week.
as I wrote to the friend who sent it to me...

“There is always the risk in turning over memories of childhood that something awful will crawl out from under a stone that was sunk into place for a purpose. This book literally was the first BOOK I'd ever read! In my memory it was poetic, honest, and more real to me than the Gaussian blur of what I was living through as a child in poverty and emotional neglect. I truly cared about these heroes, the gods and the men and women in this book. I didn't know about The Iliad or The Odyssey: this was MY introduction to mythology.

On a level I didn't want to look at, I was afraid to revisit that world.
It had meant SO much. I was able to talk about it on the blog in a small bite, describing the outline of it's form in my life. I even hit on a major truth when I said, "I think if you were to crack that, you'd understand the core of who I am."

Well I looked at it today. Reread the whole thing. I'm amazed at what I knew by heart at 6 and 7 years of age. It's an AMAZING book, rich in poetic metaphor, wondrously retold -- shocking to think that "I got it" back then; but with this book as the base of my reading comprehension -- my tastes and style of expression are what they are.

Thank you. This was my real home, my first school -- my favorite teachers.”

The metaphors that are strongest in our lives are the ones we carry from the stories we drank in when our minds were most impressionable. For most people early childhood is a blur of sweet afternoons that all seemed to take place in summer, and the stories that form the adult strip the child hide like the rind of a fruit, discarding it as a thing to be tossed away as no consequence. Moving into the peer world of adolescence (where fitting in is everything) the myths that rule our lives revolve around sex, "cool", and nerdhood... and they hold a powerful influence into and through adulthood.
For Most People.
I skipped that part.
Because of this book; where right and wrong was never black and white; where the gods cared about the lives of humans and intervened on a daily basis; where the monsters and the heroes were real... and the heroes usually won.
And the villians got their reward, as well.

Life as an adult should be more like that, don't you think?