18 February 2007

I'd rather be a diamond than a basketcase...(read below for an explanation)

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

I have some friends just like that, who truly epitomize the quote above and they've been with me this weekend - not physically - these friends of mine are scattered - the UK, Manhattan, Michigan and, of course, Wilmington and the surrounding coast. They have made me laugh and been irreverent, silly, poignant, philosophical, optimistic and brilliant. How I came into the company of such wise and accomplished people, I can't possibly explain, but it was my great fortune. I know one thing, these amazing "inner circle" friends of mine have given me a blueprint for what comprises the finest qualities of a friend - Someday I hope to be close to their level of near-perfection. It's good to have a goal.

Katie has pointed out that if I had been writing and turning in the things I have been asked to submit, perhaps Britney might have been able to avoid shaving her head and walking in and out of the rehab revolving door at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Treatment Center in Antigua. [I really wanted to go to rehab in Antigua but since the admission was more than my house, I settled for scenic Wilmington Treatment Center which also offered stunning recreational activities - a volley ball net and a horseshoe pit. Pretty glam, I know.]. But back to Katie's rant: Thanks to my unfinished submission, the world must look at a "sheared Spears". We had quite a chat about the whole thing yesterday both online and on the cell.

Yes, Katie reminded me that if I think I've got problems, focus on poor Britney, Robbie Williams, Lindsey Lohan, Ray Liotta (breaking news!) and, my gosh, will we ever live long enough to see the end to the Anna Nicole Smith Saga? I think they need to dedicate a channel just to the life and times of the late Ms. Smith so that the other channels are freed up enough to actually, you know, report real news. What astonishes me even more is that people are deeply entrenched in the daily updates as if it actually impacts their lives in some way. My theory is that ANS's life was such a tangled-up mess that even on our worst days, we can look at her and glance back at ourselves and still feel as if things aren't all that bad. I don't know about you, but I'm personally pleased that Howard K. Stern isn't tagging along with me.

More troubling and a little closer to home, I overheard our cat Sylvester muttering something about possibly being the biological father of Anna Nicole's daughter so this house could be surrounded by paparazzi at any moment. Sadly, I can't say for sure that he's not ~ Sylvester may be 14, but he's spent more than a few nights catting around. I feel like a paternity test will clear everything up and perhaps exonerate poor Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband and clear his good name, which escapes me at this time, which would be no small blessing. I figure Sylvester has more of a chance proving paternity than that old man - besides, Syl is from Texas and we lived in Fort Lauderdale for four years with quite a few trips to the Bahamas. It's not like he hasn't been around. Plus, let's face it, Sylvester is a charming, charismatic, dapper, virile cat (just ask Felix!). As we've seen time and again since this story broke wide open, anything is possible. I thought Syl had calmed down a bit in the past couple of years but now and again he still comes in at odd hours with absolutely no explanation as to where he's been or who he's been with. He swaggers in the doorway with a cheshire cat grin plastered on his face, the kind of smirk that lets us know that we don't really want to know. Given his past escapades, I guess he can't be ruled out.

Everyone has their cross to bear, but a few of us have a cross to wear and I received a beautiful cross this past Wednesday. It was a gift from someone who appeared unexpectedly in my life, but not at all by chance. I met this graciously gifted gentleman in what I thought was a last-minute "chance" meeting in Manhattan right before checking out of my hotel and heading over for a quick lunch with Katie. What I imagined would take an hour or so lasted three. I spent those three hours learning about his life and he gently queried me about my writing, my experiences, my goals and most of all my passion.

The next morning I received a phone call and he told me that he thought I had a book in me and could I please send in 50 pages and an outline? It's taken me a little time - life has been chaotic since that late October morning in Manhattan, but he hasn't given up on me just yet which is such an unmerited blessing. In fact, the story continues to unfold as we speak. The last chapter in the project I imagine is in the process of being lived while I write the beginning of all that has passed up until this point. To have someone of this fellow's qualifications, talent and seasoned-eye go to bat for me as he has, is something I would have been too timid even to wish for. He isn't about to let me give up on this, and I'm not about to let either of us down. He's taking a firm, but compassionate, stand with me ~ much kinder than I remotely deserve.

This man has even been known to duck inside a nearby Catholic Church to light a candle or two for me. It is humbling to have someone believe in you to that degree. I am humbled. I don't want to waste the faith he, or anyone else, has invested in me. I think about that a lot and sometimes I foolishly try to make sense of how Point A connects to Point B and then intersects with Point C and that alone can create a headache, and none of it makes sense, and yet it is the insensibility of it that compels me to believe none of it is a product of chance. I don't really believe in luck, but I do know a thing or two about blessings. I've met them and I can report they exist all over the place. Truly. On both sides of the pond! Honestly, the planet is simply littered with them, if you open your eyes and, of course, your heart. Thanks Glen...

February has been a month of changes and surprises and some are still unfolding even as I type this. I find I'm becoming more measured (for the moment) <did you notice how "for the moment" jumped out there like that?> in the words I choose and it's not always readily apparent who is who and what is what, but there are always those that you know in your heart you can always rely on and trust with your life. Everyone and everything else eventually sorts itself out with a few ticks of the clock. Sometimes it's hard to know who or what to believe in and who you can trust and what your own part in any given play, day or drama may be. When those situations present themselves, it's usually best to be quiet and watchful waiting becomes the wisest thing to do. I've not always been known for doing the wisest thing but, not to sound too grandiose, I think I'm getting better at it. I need lots more practice and given the way life is bouncing around these days, I have no doubt I'll have ample opportunity to test my decision-making machinery.

So what do you do when you're aimlessly surfing the Internet and you're supposed to be engaged in more constructive pursuits? Since I was out of chocolate (thanks Ali), I visited a site that always cheers me up and makes me laugh. Despair.com. I found the perfect poster. I wouldn't say that pressure had reduced me to a basketcase - more like an empty creole after a day spent surf fishing on the Outer Banks. It could have been better, it could have been worse. I didn't take anyone's head off and Cassie, Felix, Sylvester and Princess are still scampering around me, so I couldn't have been that surly. In the grand scheme of things, the annoyances circling around won't really matter a whit ten years from now. As long as I have some loose-leaf jasmine tea within kettle's reach, I'm good. Whatever happens in the next week or two will happen. I have to believe that it will all be fine.

Last but never, ever least, Jim in Amarillo, I'm still loving my flute and when I'm not trying to figure it out, I'm thinking how lovely it looks on my wall. I hope you're safe and warm and that the ice is thawing. What a special person you are. And he is!