Historian, author, editor, educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, others who believe in learning from and making history. Thousands of articles and posts and a free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.
—"The best works by living writers on the heart of New Orleans." Miz' Remy is the author of Annie.
Remy Benoit's free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.
Part I. Remy Benoit
Many Veterans have asked me what is the place in history of their war, their sacrifice. Many have found some relief, peace, and the beginning of resolution in putting their feelings on paper. It is my hope that this seminar will be of assistance in that effort.
Part II. Remy Benoit
What are you looking for with your writing? Are you looking for self-expression? Are you looking for healing; writing to bring yourself home? The exercises and discussion in Part 2 will help you along your path.
Part III. Remy Benoit
In Part 3 we will look at our dreams, daydreams, reflections, and memories in an effort to see what they mean to us and how they can help us to live in the present with a heightened awareness and appreciation of our place in the world and our progress along our personal paths. Please be aware that the writings you will find throughout this seminar were donated with love by many people, from all age groups, from all over the world, in the hope that their thoughts and writings will help you along your way to peace.
Part IV, Looking at All Sides. Remy Benoit
Writing is work, hard work. So is building a life; so is finding yourself...
Part V: Myths and Fables I. Remy Benoit
Looking into the roles and influences of myth and fable in our lives.
Part V, Myths and Fables II. Remy Benoit
Part V: Myths and Fables III. Remy Benoit
The culture, mythology and history of a time influence the relationships between men and women. Those relationships are further complicated in our times by the mass media. How do we come to terms with who we are when we are told so many conflicting stories about who we should be?
Part V, Myths and Fables IV. Remy Benoit
The continuing discussion of the role of mythology in our lives and in our healing process. And a look at the "myths" we may have come to believe about ourselves.
Part VI, Life in Society I. Remy Benoit
Our lives in a different time and space for a new perspective on how we live them.
Part VI, Life in Society II. Remy Benoit
Becoming more aware of societal roles, mores, expectations will help us clarify our own lives and develop those of fictional characters.
Part VII, Music, Art, Crafts, Architecture, Dance, Nature, Story Tellers. Remy Benoit
The arts for creative expression and healing.
Part VII, How Stories Influence Our Lives. Remy Benoit
The power of stories in our lives.
Part VIII, How Stories Influence Our Lives. Remy Benoit
Consider, and write about, your and your characters reactions to the change of seasons. Do you "turtle," tuck in as winter approaches? Do you expand, flow with the first breath of spring? How much input does you environment have on how you live, and how you feel about your relationship to nature?
Part IX: Music. Remy Benoit
What is the role of music in our lives?
Part X, Story Telling. Remy Benoit
What is the story that you have to tell?
Part XI, Clothing. Remy Benoit
What do clothes say to and about a person, a character?
Part XII, Some Thoughts on the Arts. A. J. Kinkay and Remy Benoit
The why of art-music-architecture is a natural human phenomenon.
Part XIII, Poverty and Abundance. Remy Benoit
Part XIV, Abundance. Remy Benoit
Look around you. Look up at the immensity of the daytime sky. Look up at the enormous expanse of star strewn wonder.
Reclaiming Your Imagination. Remy Benoit
Storytelling: What to Do With Anger and Pain. Remy Benoit
The Healing Power of Sharing. Remy Benoit
And now we come to the questions: What is war? What is the place in history of my war? What was/is the purpose of the war I knew?
How is the writing coming along?. Remy Benoit
I thought I would give you some time to think, to find the words and then come back with some little exercises to stimulate that pen or those fingers on the keyboard.
Autumn comes for us here in the States officially next week. But even here in Louisiana where we really don't do winter, there is a noticeable change in the air, in the scents, in the sunlight, and in the temperatures.
By the Bedside . Remy Benoit
A wonderful companion journal to a personal one is a Bedside Dream Journal.
I have friends who lay no stock in dreams and dream interpretation.
For me, well, they are sacred things; things that warn us, guide us, comfort, and/or direct us.
No matter how strange they seem, I have found guidance in dreams. I have been shown that what I most desired would not be for awhile.
I have dreamed when it would be. And it has come in the way the dreams led.
No journey is without its right and incorrect turns. No journey is without its trials, it joys, its tears.
Dreams help to provide road maps.
A dream journal, filled out as soon as possible after the dream, will help you draw your map.
Make it plain, make it fancy with a symbolic drawing on its cover, but do make it, and fill it up.
Read some mythology, meditate, and listen.
You will find your way if you are willing to learn, to forgive others and yourself; if you are willing to grow.
I think the truest words ever spoken, and I don't have a clue who said them orginally, are: To have the life you want, you have to be willing to give up the life you have.
Are you willing, looking for a road map?
It is said anything that we can dream, we can eventually make happen.
If you work from the premise that you already, even though you don't recognize it yet,have all that you need to make the dream come true, you open yourself to seeing it.
Ask How can I serve? and then, listen. Keep in mind, in all the history of the planet there is, and will only be, one you. How can you serve? What is it that you were meant to be, to do? It is through the service that you will find your dream.
Seasonal Sensations. Remy Benoit
As a writer, everything must feed your writing.
It is autumn here in Louisiana, but it is 73 out there today with real high humidity and a promise of thunderstorms. We have gone weeks without rain and do need it.
The vast majority of days here are very bright, so an overcast day comes as a kind of visual relief. Yet today I am rather disoriented as it is the first day of going back to Standard Time.
The time of day just doesn't feel right yet.
Which led me to thinking that you might want to start developing the impact of the weather on your story and characters. For a practice session with that try just writing your gut feelings about the following topics:
"frog choking rain"
the first snow of the season
the tenth snow of the season
ice on the road
ice in a glass
What are the positive things that come to mind with these words; what are the negatives?
Write about them separately and then think about what intrigues you, enhances you, or makes you ill at ease about them...
let these sensations come to life in your characters.
As I sat here writing this, I looked out the window and called my son. A hawk sat in the live oak outside. As it flew away we noted it had a small animal of some kind in its beak.
We are so removed from survival living in most cases. How do you react to a hawk with a live animal in its beak for supper?
It is hunting season here - how would you feel about having to hunt and preserve your food for the winter; grind acorns for flour; experience the above elements living in a lean-to, a cave, a branch woven hut?
How would that impact on your feelings about seasonal sensations?
The Depths of Winter.
It has been a hard winter in many parts of the country.
The war goes on, the casuality lists grow.
We are bombarded with the candidates and the upcoming election.
It is time to have a retreat.
Write about your favorite retreat, vacation spot, secret place in the depths of summer.
Let your thoughts take you away and warm you.
Spring will come. Summer will follow. Keep the faith. It even comes to Alaska!
Summer in Alaska.
Spring is About Promise.
Spring coming in very much in evidence here.
We watched an eagle soar above us the other day. The hawks and kestrels are busy.
There are new buds on many of the trees.
But the scent of Spring is here too, reaching out, just about saying " your sultry Southern nights are on the way."
What is it about Spring that enchants us?
It is more gentle than the winter. It brings life's flourishing to us; it stirs our blood.
If there is a problem in your life right now, perhaps you can plant it on paper. Give it words, give it seed; water it with love and attention, with more words; with prayer and with hope and let it find its own way to resolution without the negativity of worry stunting its path, tangling its stalks, choking its will to life and lesson.
Ask your problem how you helped make it emerge in the first place.
Ask your problem what it wants to teach you.
Ask your problem how you can help it on its way to resolution.
And then listen as it puts out it tendrils to reach for the sun and metamorphosis from problem to blossoms of growth.
I took a walk tonight with the puppy. The heat is much less intense than it was over the weekend when the apparent temps clustered around 114 with all the humidity.
I like to walk at twilight time, watching the sun fade through the outstretched arms of the Live Oaks.
It all set me to thinking back to those days before we knew how it all worked, or didn't.
Think back to your last summer of innocence; all kinds of innocence.
Think back to the time when you felt that you could be, or do anything; when there were no stops, no conception of the finite numbers of our days in our current forms.
Think back to what your dreams were then.
Think back to what your ideals were then; who your heroes were then.
How many of those dreams still linger?
How many of those ideals have shimmered and faded in the heat of everyday demands?
How many of those heroes remain untarnished?
Write a letter to your old self. Tell that self who you have become. Tell that self about how you feel about who you have become. Tell that self about changes you would like to make in yourself.
Write to those old dreams; let them go, or tell them how you will find a way to rejuvenate them and finally bring them to fruition.
Write to your old self about what you have found that you have let into your life that you would rather not have and how you plan on letting those things go that are not right for you.
Write to summer itself about how you feel when it is here.
Find a common ground for that innocent you and the now you among the roses, the hot city streets, the woods, or the swells breaking on the beach.
Take a walk with you, with nature, with whole of Creation and see what wonders you find.
Translate those wonders into your everyday life; into your life as a person living in a free society.
Somewhere in there you should find the dreams, the ideals, the heroes to help you to be peace.
Autumn: Your Newest Writing Assignment from the Seminar. Remy
Autumn is arriving softly here this week.
I know where many of you are, you are suffering from the destruction of the terrible path Ivan, Frances, and Charlie too through so much of the country. My heart goes out to you. Our homes are our havens and the pain goes so deep when terrible things happen to them.
Autumn is often a time of thinking of, of appreciating, home. The temperatures begin to drop, the leaves begin to color and then tumble down; frost works its designs on your windows. As spring is often a time for opening up to the outside world, autumn is often a time for the closing in.
We check or replace the weather stripping; we get in a supply of rock salt, wood for fireplaces and dark pot bellied stoves. We stock the pantry for the snow falls to come knowing that there will be ice, black ice, and snow out there to challenge some of us in the morning if we live where those things are common. We drive to work in the dark, and often come home in the dark, missing the daylight for the artificial light of workplaces.
I have a different relationship with autumn and winter since I moved to the deep South. It is pleasant here, inviting here. Even if temperatures may go into the mid-twenties overnight and I have to plug in the heat tapes on the pipes, by late morning the day is comfortable and much of our winter is spent on the open porch.
But when I lived where the snow fell out in the country, in the city, it was pleasant to walk in it at night in the quiet, in the dark, almost hearing each unique flake touch shrub, tree, pavement, or sleeping blueberry bush.
I recall the warm glow of coming into a home in the winter that smelled of dinner cooking, and warmth. Usually it was me cooking dinner, just coming in from a quick outside with the dog. But there is a sense of peace in doing that.
I recall Nor'easters that rocked the house with wind and with rain that fell sideways as it sometimes does here.
I recall the sharp silhouette of bared branches against the grey snow coming sky; the ever sharpening bite of the mid-Atlantic winds as the months moved on to winter. How many times have you said, “I can smell the snow coming.”
I recall the autumn housecleaning, which I still do; the washing/airing of sweaters; the flannel sheets moving onto the beds; the quilts being fluffed; the cider warming.
I miss picking apples from the trees in October.
Write about autumn.
Write about what it is like where you live; where you once lived; how it was when you were away on active duty somewhere and what thoughts came to mind.
Make an effort this year to touch autumn. Do a pumpkin, bob for an apple, watch the sky changes, thank a tree for the shade it provided you over the summer.
Make an effort this year to let autumn touch you; it will if you let it.
Ah, and one last remembrance. How many of you are old enough to recall when the grownups moved the cars off the streets, raked the leaves into it, and set them a fire. Do you remember the scent of burning leaves?
Let the memories ramble like I did here in my Pastiche
Apple tasting now from the trees of New Jersey 'pick it yourself ' orchards in the mid-October sun. Apple tartness, sweetness, floating in the sun heated air and there, of a sudden, is Mrs. B's dining room from fifty years ago filled with children in Halloween costumes slurping up her warmed, cinammoned cider. She was a working woman then, only seen going in the morning, coming back at dinnertime but always available to the thirsty neighborhood young that one special night each year, before treats had to be checked for razors and drugs. Did any of them ever say Thank you? She was sure they did. They were trained to.
But somehow Serena felt Mrs. B. heard more the whispered thank you of young happy bellies.
Write. Share your words if only with yourself, and be peace.
What Do You Want Your Christmas Story to Be. Remy Benoit
This is your holiday writing challenge from our Seminar here: Using History for Healing and Writing:
Your Christmas Story
Do you know what, really know, what you want your Christmas story to be?
I have cats, and when I try to put up a Christmas tree they think it is for them to climb, to undo the garlands and take the angel from the top. Perhaps a cat kind of climbing of an evergreen Everest. The tree does not fare too well.
I love Christmas trees, always have. I spend eleven months each year looking forward to putting one up.
Those of you, who like me, are Trekkies will recall the choice Jean Luc made to leave the Nexus, the perfect family, and the Christmas celebration. In all the Trek, tv shows, movies, generations of Gene's glorious gift to us, I have cried only five times; when Miramani died, when Spock died, when Kirk died, when Jean Luc went through the family album, and when Jean Luc walked away from Christmas in the Nexus.
Yesterday I started putting up the lights and took out the things for the tree - the latter was the signal to the youngest cats - PLAY TIME and the climb began. I watched it, laughing at their antics, but crying inside and outside a bit because I knew that, again, this year there would be none of my beautiful, and very fragile, decorations on the tree. I cried a bit but it set me to thinking about our home, and about Jean Luc.
And once again I found that I had come to the place of choices, and the things in our lives that those choices manifest.. I asked myself why does the idea of a "Victorian Christmas" light up my heart? We always think of their trees, introduced by Prince Albert into Britain and then traveling here, as perfect, exquisite, and light filled. But sometimes we need to step back a bit.
In the old days, before my time even, candles were used to light the trees. That often led to fire disasters. Towards the end of the century, new clip-on candleholders cut down the number of fires yet they did remain a problem. Now we have electric lights, tiny lights to glow soft and warm, or to twinkle with the excitement of the season. We still need to exercise caution with the lights.
Behind the "glory " of those Victorian Christmases were the butler, the house maids, the scullery maids, working for a pittance, no health insurance, no pension funds, and heaven forbid one of the males of the house set a bun to warming in the maid's belly, she was out on the street.
I started to think about that. Most of us don't have help in the home these days. Any decorating, cooking, shopping, etc., is done, usually by the woman, trying to work it all into an already overloaded schedule. That is, right there, a recipe for stress, and unrealistic expectations. And even if all the glorious expectations are met, there are still beyond the veil that mostly isn't seen through, those right here in this country whose economic problems are so overwhelming that perhaps a job as a parlour maid with a freezing attic sleeping place holds some attraction.
The cats, the young ones, in the tree, had triggered all these thoughts; triggered this, if you will, soul searching archaeology about what those awesome Victorian trees symbolized to me. I kept digging deeper and deeper all through the night.
Stepping back and looking at my mixed reactions to the young cats in the tree, I went back to the day that I drove the nine miles to a town called Robert to pick up some groceries. The gratitude we should feel for the availability of food is for another writing exercise. That day one of the women who work in the store, doing the jobs I used to do as a young woman managing markets, said to me, "Did you see the kittens outside in the box? Someone dumped them next to our trash bin."
No, I hadn't seen them, not yet, but when I finished shopping, I put the groceries in the car, and went back to look in the box. There I found the sisters, all wide-eyed, amewing, and totally incapable, much too young, of taking care of themselves. The thoughts ran through my mind - what about the two already at home, what about the seventeen year old Lhasa Apso? The sisters looked up at me from that grocery box, reached tiny paws up to me, and I reached down, picked up the box and put it on my front seat. I turned some music on softly for the ride home, and told them about where they were going to be living.
So, the two young cats climbing the tree are celebrating their second Christmas with us. Their names are Jesse and Gracia. Their older sisters tolerate their antics with the patience only mature cats seem able to muster. My companion of so very many years, my Lhasa Apso, Gypsy, passed on the day after Christmas last year. A wonderful Cajun man, in a town called Robert, gave me a puppy to walk with me. He is Chihuahua and Dachshund - use your imagination!
The finches, the cockatiels have their places here as does the Japanese fighting fish. We are a big family critter wise, and I enjoy each and every moment of them. All these thoughts had come atumbling through from the moment Gracia managed to untop the tree until my first cup of coffee this morning and it was then I realized what symbolic place a Victorian tree had in my head - light, peace, harmony. I remembered what I already knew, that although there were beautifully wrapped presents beneath them, their peace, light, and harmony were built on the labors of others who knew, and were strongly made to know, their place in all things.
So, the decorated tree, sans delicate angels, etc., is out on the roofed front porch so we can enjoy it through the living room windows, and no furry ones will get tangled and possibly hurt from the lights and the garlands. Jesse and Gracia get to tell the kitten story of when they climbed the green Everest all the way to the top in victory. Boo, the puppy, gets to stand on the hope chest and look out the window at this his first Christmas tree, and there is light, and peace, and harmony here and it comes from our work.
I ask you for your Holiday writing, whatever holy day you are celebrating, to look at one expectation that you have for it that often seems to be leaving you with a wish unfulfilled. Dig deep, ask yourself what this thing, this expectation really holds for you and you will find resolution, and have a happier holiday for it.
And, oh, yes, there is one more young lady who lives here, although not in the house. Her name is 'Miz Chicken. When I took her out of the back of a chicken raisers truck, she was weak, no one thinking she would make it through the day. She is walking challenged, one leg sticks out to the side and has never touched the ground. But 'Miz Chicken gets around quiet well. She has been with us just about a year now, has her own house, loves to be hugged, and lays a brown egg a day. I shall leave her to say Happy Holidays to you and that you are welcome to share the "artifacts " you dig up about holiday expectations with the rest of us.
Write it out; write yourself home to yourself and the rest of us.
Whatever holiday you are celebrating, may it bring you peace.
It will, if you will BE PEACE.
For those of you who have known Christmas far from home on battlefields, from LOVING
Korea: Christmas Eve 1951
Aching with weariness the bodies of the frightened men approached the hill stiff and creaking with the cold, almost faint with the exertion, their minds set only on containing the fear by putting one foot in front of the other; left, right, left, right. Another march, another mission, one foot in front of the other, again. Each step, each left or right lift of the foot seeming to weigh more and more. Just when another left lift of foot seemed impossible, a sudden explosion of Korean gunfire filled the air.
The light of it, the cacophony of it, the fear it quickened, all warmed their bodies temporarily. Air that was supposed to bring breath to life, to be taken in to sustain human life and breathed out to sustain plant life was made obscene as it was filled with grenade fragments, bullets, screams and body parts, last gasps of life.
In the trauma of it all, the wounded, many of them hit and bleeding critically, screamed over and over again in their agony, "Doc."
Each scream, each moan, of each wounded man hit Doc like incoming bullets, piercing his heart, his mind, his soul, his feelings of inadequacy of even beginning to think of doing what needed doing, and yet, he went to each one to try to do it.
His hands were stiff, awkward, with the cold. His knees screamed with cold ache and numbness each time he bent, each time he came to minister to another whose blood poured into foreign soil from head wounds, chest wounds, exploded, shattered impotent groins, and demolished dreams.
His hands moved applying bandages, tourniquets, medications defying the cold, damning the odds, slapping the face of the impossible; claiming at least a few from the grasp of the cold of death. Being able to maintain, being able to go on, only, only because every fiber of his soul believed that those of both sides who fell permanently in the ice cold hot confrontation would be welcomed in the warm, sweet arms of heaven. Some of his side, just like some of his counterpart's side on the other side, would be saved to carry on their work here because Doc faced the odds, faced the fragments, the firepower with sheer determination, bandages and simple medicines.
As he worked they crawled into whatever they could crawl into to wait for evacuation and pray; trying to stay awake, to face the pain down, to stay awake and not fall asleep where sleep in such bitter cold, made you feel warm, such inviting warmth; let your body succumb to freezing, to death with its breathing of air that was supposed to be life giving; of battle field air untempered by adequate clothing, or hot soups, warm breads, and firesides; battle field air that lowered body temperatures of weakened, traumatized bleeding men below that which would sustain life. Doc worked on, tending each as he came to them, working against all odds to keep some of them at least alive for their work here, while the others slipped off, drifted up to warm welcoming arms that did not know political divisions or creeds, or skin color.
Doc worked on amidst the grenade fragments and hot searing bullets steaming the cold air.
He patched the head wound of one young man with a sweet Louisiana drawl who said, ‘Thanks, Doc. Okay...I'll stay awake, don't worry; can't be missing Christmas." Doc moved on, the bullets kept flying, the grenades fragmenting, and the young man with the sweet lilting accent talked with himself in the snowed and iced hell of a foreign battlefield on the eve of Christmas, a sacred day of celebrating the birth of the Prince of Love and Peace.
“I came here as a part of the infantry.
“When you see that in your mind, somehow you see, or at least I do, lots and lots of men; men bound together in a common cause of stopping the enemy and staying alive.
“Being the kid of a father who fought the Big One, I grew up thinking that when a country fought a war the whole country fought it.
“Just the way I did; doing without sugar and eggs and tires, well, you know. The take your pennies and buy a war bond thing.
‘Anyway, always thought of war in big, big numbers of people doing a thing together.
“Well, we are.
“We are all here in this frozen mud, living in the ground like some kind of rodents that farmers shoot to protect their crops. Only we don't have fur and we can't tunnel far enough under the ground, under the stinking frozen mud of the ground of this country that doesn't smell like home, to get far enough under the ground to find any warmth.
“I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
“I'm dreaming of sleigh bells like in the movies, though where I come from Christmas' aren't white, too warm for snow. Always wanted to try that, the sleigh riding thing.
“I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
“I see myself as a kid opening all the beautifully wrapped boxes, excitement building so I could hardly breathe. I recall the feel of my first play rifle; how long and sleek and solid its wooden body felt.
“I recall the box next to it held my first six shooter in a fancy holster with those shiny silver-like brad things making me feel like Wyatt Earp, ready to go out and get the bad guys.
“I remember me and my buddies dodging in and out of the narrow streets of the Quarter; hiding just around the narrow corners, knowing just what the enemy looked like, and smelled like, knowing that like John Wayne I would get them because I was the good guy. Might get a little wound; might see a buddy fall, but I would emerge triumphant, avenging his passing and righting all things. Just like in the Westerns, just like raising the flag on Iwo.
“I know from the movie newsreels that the fighting in the Big One was hard, costing a whole lot of lives. This one, this one is more like, I'm thinking, more like the first one. Hey, wasn't that supposed to be the one to end them all?
"Well, anyway we have more in common here with those trenches in France in the first one. Know too that winters get cold in France; had heard about cold, wondered about white Christmas', but never knew about cold before.
"Nobody ever told me that cold winter winds have teeth, that they bite into you feeling like they are taking big chunks out of you. I've seen how they can blacken toes and fingers right to the snapping off of them.
"Nobody told me about having a grenade pin freeze in place, making it useless or about having to piss on my M-1 to get that warm enough to get it doing what it is supposed to do.
"Where I come from it is the heat and humidity that make you sleepy.
"Cold does that too.
"You kind of get passed the teeth chattering thing, the shivering, sitting here in the frozen, stinking mud with cold winds numbing your nose and ironically making your eyes burn.
"I know from home that you can get so hot you sort of get the shivers.
"Here it is just the opposite.
"You get so cold, so tired, so tired just from moving your fingers and wiggling your toes so they don't get frostbite and break off, that you start to feel sleepy warm.
"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
"Christmas is supposed to all green and red and smelling sweet.
"Nothing smells sweet here, no aroma of baking pralines in the air.
"Just a white, frozen, hell.
"They told me hell was hot.
"The flames that lick at us here in this white frozen hell, come from enemy guns, searing hot wounds on hell frozen flesh.
"This is hell and it is cold.
"Some red, yeah, red but not Christmas red; not bright, shiny sparkling red like the big bows on Christmas gifts with shiny six guns in them, and full bodied play rifle stocks. Not the red that wraps around with white on candy canes. Not the red of Christmas lights giving a warm, warm glow. Not the red of the poinsettias, those flowers of the Holy Night, on the altar of the Cathedral.
"No, not that kind of red at all..
This red is dark, kinda purply, sticky looking, almost black in its redness, and dripped down from the side of my head, onto my shoulder, and down onto my chest, just sitting there like some obscene frozen ice thing made of what used to flow in me.
"The snow is starting to fall again, real light, real pretty. All the years growing up I wanted to see and feel and taste new, fresh falling snow. Always asked to be taken somewhere to taste and see and feel new fresh falling snow on Christmas Eve.
"Folks just weren't able to get to the doing of that.
"And I am alone; nobody else around; wonder where they all got to.
"Well, they'll be back, lot of them will get to where I am now; don't have to worrying about being alone in that.
"Now, what was I saying in the beginning of this thought? Oh, yeah, about always thinking about infantry and large numbers.
"Well, yeah, the thing of it is there are large numbers but the reality of that thing is that each of us going to war goes as a man alone, goes as the man he is. But those of us who get to go home, don't go home the same man. Even those of us who walk home on both feet, with both arms for hugging, and lips in tact for kissing, and manhood intact for making babies aren't going home the same man who came with those large, large numbers of other men, but came alone also in his own skin and his own bones, with his own heart damn near pounding out of his chest in fear.
"Know all about that kind of alone.
"But the snow is starting to fall heavier now and I've managed to push just the tiniest piece of my swollen tongue far enough passed my cracked and broken lips to find out what I always wanted to know; the taste and feel of new fresh falling snow on Christmas Eve.
"And you know what?
"It is everything I thought it would be, and more. In fact, its chill tastes good because I fell sort of hot right now.
"And I am all alone to enjoy it; alone, except what is that I hear?
"Bells, bells jingling; bells jingling on what sounds like what I've only read about before in stories about Russia about a thing called a troika; a three horse sleigh. And I can hear, I can hear the sounds of the hooves of the horses, and I can smell them, and they are alive and breathing hot and heavy with their exhaustion, steam coming full from their nostrils to ice up real quick in this cold, cold air.
"My God, are they coming to take me back home on a three horse sleigh in heavy fresh new falling snow with their bells all ajingling?
"But who, who is coming?
"Troikas are Russian things.
"I'm, I'm getting confused.
"Last war, not this war, Russians on our side.
"Easterners here are Koreans, Chinese, not Russians.
"The Han-guk, the Koreans, don't have troikas.
"The Chinese have those, those things, that you ride in and men carry about using their bodies like a horse or mule. Can't think, can't think of what they called, but it doesn't matter because they don't have bells, jingling bells on them anyway.
"But the snow is falling heavy sweet and fresh and new and pure and it is covering up all that dark, frozen sticky, blackish purply stuff that ran out of my head red and down onto my shoulder and chest from inside me and I am getting warm.
"Oh Lord, thank You, thank You for making me feel warm, for a dream come true; the seeing, the tasting, the feeling of fresh new falling snow on Christmas Eve and for sending whoever You are sending to take me home in a three horse sleigh with bells ajingling.
Writing Seminar: Spring and Connections. Remy Benoit
It is said that when it came time to go "over there" in 1917, some asked 'where is Paris?' I read once, don't know if the quote is accurate, that JFK asked 'where is this Vietnam?'
The point is the world grows smaller each day and that conflicts constantly emerge because of lack of information, knowledge, familiarity, and fear.
Perhaps we would do well to look about our own homes and consider the points of origin of the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, the machines we use. This morning I drank Coffee. not native here. At the moment, I have Spring Rolls - Egg Rolls. cooking, and Pasta. Are you wearing cotton clothes? Check out the label as to where they were made. What do you know about the people of the country who made them if they were not made here.
Ideas have come down to us through the centuries from all over the world. Some of you know the work of James Burke. who did the wonderful series Connections, The Day the Universe Changed, and Reconnections in which he shows us how ideas were spread and developed across the globe and time.
Consider the connections work of Wayne W. Dyer's Wisdom of the Ages.
Our knowledge of our planet, our universe, is still quite limited. But consider the work of Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton. Witten is considered by some to be the smartest man alive and Einstein's successor. Visit with him at Universe on a String. and begin to expand your vision of what an awesome gift life is.
Consider also the theories of:
The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.
Hunting for Higher Dimensions Peter Weiss.
If we begin to think in terms of not just what is visible, we begin to expand our vision, begin to see that all is truly interrelated and interdependent.
At a personal level of expansion, do read:
The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life by Deepak Chopra.
There's A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem.
As you begin to expand your vision you can begin to see that we are progressing, albeit slowly. That life as we think of it is ever so much more than we can even contemplate the vast reality of. Yet that makes the place of each individual even more important as what we do, each of us, each and every day does have a Butterfly Effect.
Remember that everything is constantly changing. So if you are in a turbelent state now, there is some underlying order. Chaos Theory.
For your writing, try to think in terms of your problem in the overall course of human growth. What have you learned from what you can experience that you can share in a positive light with others.
Rhea and Jordan Devereaux had it all: undying devotion, a tender love, and a grand passion. And then the Vietnam War separated them. Follow the course of their love across time and space. Journey with them through the steaming jungle; dance with the Mardi Gras revelers while revolution unseats Louis XVI and protestors on the Washington Mall scream, Hell, NO. We won't Go. Sail with Laffite's pirates into Devil's Isle and rejoice as an unconditional and timeless love emerges victorious.
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