Friday, April 29, 2005

Excitement Ahead (and partly domesticated)

Tonight is the beginning of the Vigil at Church. Hubby, Cheyenne, and myself are set to read from 10PM to 11PM unless someone doesn't show on time - if someone doesn't show on time, this means we will be reading until someone relieves us. This happened last year and I read out loud until my throat was so dry I didn't believe I could keep going, but somehow I managed, and so did Hubby. This year we have an extra person in our little cadre' and it gives me greater reading reassurance.

This week has been leading up to tonight and tomorrow night at Church and Pascha, or the Great Passover, for us Orthodox Christians. It doesn't matter if you are Greek, Russian, Antiochian, Ethiopian, or any other form of Orthodoxy (this does not count the Holy Catholic Orthodox Church because they are different and were founded in the 1800s), this is the time of celebration Christ's Resurrection and remember His suffering on the Cross and sojourn in the tomb for three days. All of the Orthodox are very observant of this time.

Now that Pascha has (almost) arrived, I can look forward to the coming days without fasting and I am excited by them because there are many recipes of Rachel Ray's on 30 Minute Meals I am SO eager to try. It surprised me I was looking forward to cooking rather than being able to keep the television on all the time if I like. There is a trip planned ahead of us for a small vacation and this brightens my heart as nothing has in some time. Seeing some place new is absolutely wonderful to me usually, and I am really looking forward to this.

The writing is advancing and there is going to be more opportunities to write and many stories to be able to tell from this trip and the cooking adventures I have planned.

Also, I am going on an outing all of my own sometime this week - just because I can.

There is excitement ahead - and most of it is domesticated, but it is still something I am looking forward to greatly!

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Much is happening. This week is the Orthodox Holy Week and Pascha - our Easter. This is a very special time, a contemplative time, a time when, through the readings of the Church and the services, we go through the last week of Christ's life, and then the joyful announcement of His Resurrection.

The first time I went through this I didn't really understand it all. So much was happening. There was so much to see, so much to experience, it was the most beautiful moment of over-whelming joy I've ever experienced next to discovering someone loved me just as much as I love him.

The second time was so hopeful and I was trying too hard to get everything "just right" that I missed out on some of the beauty. Since then each and every Pascha has been different and the joy of Christ and His Church has continued to grow within me until I am filled with glee, a true joy I can't describe and can only experience. The really super great thing about this is everyone else is going through the same thing.

Tonight's service is the 12 Gospels where the readings of how Christ had the Last Supper, went into the Garden to pray, and was taken by the Sanhedrin all occurs. It is as if we are there in some mysterious way, going through these events as did the original disciples and women. It is a sad experience because, even though you know the end of the story, for a time you feel lost and uncomposed because Jesus was taken and He is suffering as a Man and not as God. It was this service that helped me fully understand Christ was fully God and fully Man. Christ will be Crucified and we will have services to experience this, as well as the procession with the byre. It is most moving, most sad.

Following this is Pascha! Resurrection! Christ is risen! Joy sweeps through my heart at this thought, this expectation. Yes, I know Christ has already risen and indeed ascended into Heaven, but sometimes...sometimes it is good to experience all of this to remember why you became a Christian in the first place.

Toward that end there are so many preparations to make with food, Pascha baskets (sort of like Easter baskets), and preparing yourself spiritually to receive Communion at this time. It is beyond beautiful, it is almost beyond taxing, but then, just when it seems as if nothing is going to fall into place, the thought hits you - it's almost Pascha....!

It's almost Pascha!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Good Stories

The more I progress with this writing thing, the more I am convinced it is something I've always done in this lifetime, and will continue to do it until the ending of it. Writing is sometimes why I breathe, or so it feels like. It is a force driving me forward to look at things in that little off-kilter way that writers seem to look at things, and none of us see the same thing, but we can describe it well enough you can see what we see, or get a good glimpse of it if you simply give us the time to tell you.

I was reading Wil Wheton Dot Net and he said something that really intrigued me. He said, paraphrasing here, "I look at things now as if I'm going to get a good story out of it." That made me stop reading his blog and just sit back for a moment. This is exactly how I feel! Everything is a good story if you look at it and delve into it. My life is a good story, this is why I chronicle it in a private paper journal, tell it here, rearrange it and tell it in poems and fiction. I know it is an odd thing to actually accept and realize but, the best story is the one about me and the characters I have glimpses of are all, in some way or another, little parts of me. Sometimes they aren't good parts. Sometimes they are sad parts. Sometimes they are scary parts, but they are all parts of me. No wonder writers can get so egotistical! Now I understand why!

Still, I look forward to all of the stories I can tell and poems I can phrase.

Life, itself is too short to worry about if someone else agrees or disagrees with it. Here is my body of work, more or less, in portion, but never completely.

There are many stories out there to tell.

On Monday Hubby and I are venturing into a town neither one of us have ever been to. In fact, it is a far larger city than the one we currently live in. I am excited beyond belief to be going because there is sure to be a good story out of it!

Monday, April 25, 2005

The weather shifted from 80 degree weather to snow in less than 36 hours. I believe I felt every single second of it, mostly in my back. Having said this I must continue with the statement of - and my back is still out. I hate it when my back goes out and the pain is so bad I vomit. I almost went into that strange "pain sleep" too, and that hasn't happened for many years. Yes, I can say that with joy - the pain hasn't been that bad in years. What is the "pain sleep"? Hmmm...well, it is a deep sleep that isn't a coma but not one where you can wake from readily. Hubby had a very hard time getting me to come out of it. Now, I am sitting up and doing better than this past weekend. The pain is still there. The pain is still bad. But, the pain isn't the only thing governing my existance at this particular moment.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Hello Ladies and Gents

The computer woes yours truly has been experiencing are more under control than they were. Now being on-line isn't a problem and all that needs be done is follow up with articles, stories and such.

The next serial for The News is being worked on and should be posted no later than Monday.

Life can now return to its semblance of normalcy (or as close a facsimile there of).

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Brief Note

Cheyenne here.

The editor’s computer has caught a nasty virus. How nasty? Nasty enough to make her have to reinstall everything on the computer.

Yes, everything. Windows, printer, instant messenger, games, kitchen sink, road flares – everything. Fortunately, she backed up all her files about a week ago and has been saving to diskette instead of just the hard drive, so she hasn’t lost any stories or articles.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t expect this to be a short process. There will be disagreements with the computer while it is being rebuilt.

(And suddenly, I’ve got the opening of The Six Million Dollar Man running through my head.)

With luck, she’ll be back and posting again on Saturday. If not, I’ll most likely be back to let everyone know what’s going on.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Here! Here!

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.

James Dent

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Chinese Proverb

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.

Chinese Proverb

Monday, April 18, 2005

Do you remember Amityville?

I can remember seeing The Amityville Horror back in the 1970s and almost peeing on myself! It was more frightening than anything I had seen up until that time, but before I saw the movie, I read the book.

I have always been an avid reader but no more so than in my teen years. Back then there wa enough energy and time to read three to four books in a day (it also helped I was a fast reader). A friend of mine in high school didn't finish the book - it was too scary for her - so she let me borrow it. "Don't read it in the dark," I remember her saying with wide eyes. Right. Not read a book in the dark? Please! It was just a story and all stories could be read in the dark!

So, off I went, home from school. Homework came first (I was quite dorky that way) and then reading or playing cards or talking on the telephone. So, I started reading.

I remember being engrossed almost immediately. Images came alive. For several moments it didn’t seem like the story was happening to someone else, but to me.

I had just gotten to the part with the red glowing eyes in the window, menacing and foreshadowing terrible doom. I don’t know why, but at just that moment I raised my eyes to glance out my bedroom window and there were two glowing red eyes looking at me! And they moved!

A scream, of course, came from me then, which brought my Dad running, and my Mom. They wanted to know what was wrong. I looked to the window.

“Eyes!” I said breathlessly. My Dad looked out the window and then back to me.

“You mean the car going up the road?” Car? I looked out the window again, this time fully, and could see my red glowing “eyes” of the back of a car going up Stinnett road. Sheepish is not a good word to describe how I felt and wanted to ooze unseen into the floor. Dad, on the other hand, nodded, picked up my book from the floor and said, “Why don’t you come in the living room and read?” And I did just that.

Do you remember the first Amityville Horror phase America went through? I sure do. Fondly.

Ahhhh, yeah.....

Taken from the New York Times

Change to the Clean Air Act Is Built Into New Energy Bill

Published: April 16, 2005

ASHINGTON, April 15 - Deep in the energy bill that was approved by a House committee this week, under a section titled "Miscellaneous," is a brief provision that could have major consequences for communities struggling to clean up their dirty air.
If it becomes law, it would make one of the most significant changes to the Clean Air Act in 15 years, allowing communities whose air pollution comes from hundreds of miles away to delay meeting national air quality standards until their offending neighbors clean up their own air.

The provision could especially affect states like New York, which has some of the nation's dirtiest air, and other Northeastern states that have always had difficulty meeting federal standards for ozone, a leading cause of smog, because much of any state's pollution originates in states to the south and west.
Under the new provision, the "downwind" states would not be required to meet clean air standards until the "upwind" states that were contributing to the problem had done so. Currently, states can get more time but only if they agree to added cleanup measures.

Proponents of the measure in Congress, as well as a spectrum of industry groups, say that the change would give state and local governments the flexibility and discretion they urgently need to deal with air pollution from distant sources. Otherwise, they would have to impose much stricter limits on pollution from local sources, including power plants, factories and automobiles.

But House members who fought against the measure, and other opponents, say flexibility and discretion are just other words for delay, saving money for industry and posing risks for millions of people living where the air does not meet health-based standards.

Opponents also say that the new provision would undermine a muscular rule announced last month by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Interstate Rule, which sets new power-plant emissions for three major pollutants for the eastern half of the United States. One of those pollutants, nitrogen oxide, is cooked by sunlight into ozone, or smog.

Representative Joe L. Barton, Republican of Texas, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and author of the provision, added the same provision to the House energy bill in 2003 when House and Senate leaders began negotiations on a final bill. The effort failed over other issues, and it remains unclear whether the provision would remain in a final bill this time.

Mr. Barton said in an interview it was not his intent to weaken the Clean Air Act, which sets national pollution standards, nor to undermine the interstate rule, which addresses windblown issues by requiring states to meet the same emission standards for power plants as an aid to reducing overall emissions.
Rather, he said, he wanted to restore the E.P.A.'s ability to grant extensions to areas that could demonstrate that they could not control their own pollution - a right the agency assumed it had, and acted on, during the Clinton administration until three federal courts ruled that such discretion violated the Clean Air Act.
"I'm trying to make the law more implementable, more common sense," said Mr. Barton, who represents a district south of Dallas. "I live in the real world, where it's a lot tougher to meet arbitrary standards in an area that's growing and where more people are driving cars and trucks."
"Even my adversaries would admit that I'm not trying to abolish standards or gut the Clean Air Act," he added. "I'm just trying to find a more realistic solution to a real-world situation."

It is a solution that has been warmly embraced by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council and other trade groups. "We're clearly in support of any kind of flexibility," said Bryan Brendle, an official with the manufacturers organization.

But Mr. Barton's adversaries argue that his approach poses unintended consequences, including an invitation for local communities that have not met air quality standards to use the extra time to put off reducing emissions from sources inside their own borders. They say Mr. Barton's provision could delay improvements by 10 years as one area waits for another, which waits for another - a prospect that Mr. Barton disputed.

"Bottom line, no longer will there be any incentive for states or municipalities to clean up more air pollution, and the E.P.A. has no ability to force them to do it," said Representative Tom Allen, a Maine Democrat whose motion to kill the Barton provision failed by a 29-to-19 committee vote, largely along party lines.
Mr. Allen said that tougher air quality standards announced by the environmental agency since the failure of the 2003 energy bill and the new interstate rule made Mr. Barton's provision unnecessary and "would lead to a lot more asthma than is needed."

John Millett, an E.P.A. spokesman, said the agency had taken no position on Mr. Barton's provision, but a high-ranking agency official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the agency, said "a real debate" was under way among agency officials about its potential effectiveness and its effect on the Clean Air Act.

Mr. Millett said: "Some people think it's a good idea. Most don't."

I know something needs to be done for the impending energy crisis, but, do we really need to do this? I mean, we have a planet here, and we all live on this planet. If the planet goes caput, well, so do we. Hasn't anyone thought about this in a while?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


A really quick post for today folks because I am working on the first installment for a new short-serial which will begin here tomorrow – if it isn’t overly long it just may be a short story for tomorrow from yours truly.

As always, and this is just a reminder, THE KENTUCKY MOUNTAIN GIRL NEWS IS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

An Evanescense Blend

There is something about the group Evanescence I truly like. They are labeled as “gothic” by most standards because their music is flowing, melodic and deals with over-coming, struggling, and, of course, references to death, but I, personally, wouldn’t call them “gothic.” I’m not exactly why I wouldn’t call them goth, but I wouldn’t.

Recently I purchased their CD Fallen and have genuinely fallen in love with it. One song in particular – “My Immortal” – has really made me look at them seriously.

Evanescense lyrics

I’m so tired of being here
Suppressed by all of my childish fars
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
Because your presence still lingers here
And it won’t leave me alone

These wounds won’t seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I’d wipe away all of your tears
When you’d screamed I’d fight away all of your fears
And I’ve held your hand through all of these years
But you sill have all of me

You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
But now I’m bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased all all the sanity in me

These wounds won’t seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I’d wipe always all of your tears
When you’d scream I’d fight away all of your fears
And I’ve held your hand through all of these years
But you still have all of me

I’ve tried so hard to tell myself that you’re gone
And though you’re still with me
I’ve been alone all along

These wounds won’t seem to heal
This pain I just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I’d wipe away of of your tears
When you’d scream I’d fight away all of your fears
I’ve held your hand through all of these years
But you still have all of me

Monday, April 11, 2005

Let's Just Talk For A Minute :)

This passed weekend I had a weekend like I’ve not had in a very loooonnnngggg time. It was warm, sunny, and I felt GOOD! No aches. No pains. I looked good. I felt good. Every where I went people were meeting me with smiles. Hubby was in a good mood. Life was good. Having a weekend like this last one makes me look at the coming week with enthusiasm instead of dread. I and the world need more weekends such as this last one.

And, did this weekend make me think anything interesting or spot up something I haven’t thought about in a while? Why, yes it did, thank you for asking.

This passed weekend I realized I have friends. Not just friends who are passing acquaintances really, but real friends. I felt a part of things stronger than I have ever felt a part of them, and it felt good.

At one point on Saturday as I was shopping and picking up a few things for myself at the mall, much to Hubby’s almost consternation, I noticed I was smiling and holding my head high. People were talking to me and I was alive in every fiber of my Being. Used to, when this “feeling just right” thing would come it would vanish with some bad news. This pattern made me almost become afraid to be happy, but there wasn’t any bad news waiting for me when we came home. There was no bad news on Sunday. There has been no bad news today. What does this lead me to think? . . . . I should really get cracking on all of the stories chasing after themselves in my head.

Extreme happiness and extreme sorrow make me very creative it appears. For now, I am enjoying every single second of the good stuff. Words and stories, images and dialogue, conversations if you will, flow through my head so much I am currently uncertain where to start in order to get them all down! It isn’t an overwhelming thought or feeling – it is a very good one, because I’m not stressing. Life feels good and wonderful and I hope it stays this way for a bit.

There is going to be far more activity here at The News than there has been for a while I suspect, in fact, I’m looking forward to it.

So, welcome to the Summer Phase of THE KENTUCKY MOUNTAIN GIRL NEWS!

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Flood Gates Open!

Well, it looks like “The Witch Wood Demon” is finished. In a few days it will have a nice going over and then submitted somewhere, and if it is accepted, you, my Dear Readers, will be some of the first people to know about it, because it will gladly be posted here.

Fear not, ok you can tremble if you like, but there is another story in the old noodle that would like to take a crack at some daylight. All I can say about it for certain is a phone is involved, and, it will begin appearing next week.

One of the main purposes for The News was to help me creatively. It has more than adequately helped me to spark ideas and get them out. Knowing someone reads my work is all that matters in so many ways to me. True, being published is high up there in the goal list, but telling the tale and enjoying it really is why I write in the first place, and why I will continue to write. It is indeed in my blood in so many ways!

Oh yes, one word of possible warning: Kolbar is going to begin an experiment with the computer. If it works, well, I will be on-line tomorrow. If it doesn’t, you will receive as many updates as I can get to you because the computer will have crashed and my quality of life will have declined rapidly.

No, I am not a computer junky. But it is the best tool I’ve ever had for writing and reaching out to my loved ones so very far away.

OK, get ready for next week. Hope you like the next story!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

This is a Test

I'm not exactly sure how all of this is supposed to work, but I am giving it a shot. Just downloaded BlogThis! to my toolbar and checking out how it is supposed to do.

The Witch Wood Demon, Part 9

The Witch Wood Demon, Part 9
By H.A. Handy
Copyright © 2005 by H.A. Handy

The fire crackled and popped and Angelica drifted off into a deep semi-sleep. She was quite aware of where she was, of Caleb’s form, of the sounds from the kitchen, but her body was fast asleep, relaxed and warm. Somewhere in the far distance she could hear her name being called. It sounded like Uncle Greg. His voice richly country and thick with accent.

“Angelica, come on, hon, we need to be on our way!” he was calling. She came running out of Grandmother’s house and leapt easily into the passenger’s side of the old rusty red pick-up Uncle Greg had. His hair was jet black, so black it looked greasy, and it was long, hanging way down his back. At his temples was just a bit of gray. He was smiling that easy smile Angelica had learned to love.

“So, how was your school year?” That was always his first question to her every time school went out. Which, of course, brought on torrents of explanations of grades and friends and how she couldn’t hardly wait for the end of the school year so she could be with him and away from Grandmother.

“How old are you now?”

“Sixteen,” she heard herself say.

“Sixteen? It won’t be long until you won’t want to be hanging out with your ol’ Uncle Greg at the cabin any more.”

“Never,” she declared, and it was true. Being at the cabin in the summer was like being home, not like at Grandmother’s where it felt like a prison and she always had to keep the perfect grades and be on the right squads and sports teams in order to be accepted by the rest of the world, and Grandmother. At the cabin with Uncle Greg she had peace of mind, a place just to be herself, no matter what form it might take from tom-boyish to dressing up for dinner, to being angry and shouting until she was hoarse in the woods. Or crying as if her heart was broken.

Uncle Greg turned and looked at her. His eyes were serious, but kind. He seemed to be measuring her for something he wanted to say.

“Be good, Angelica, always be good and nothing that old crone can do will change who you are.”

Angelica was seventeen, it was the middle of the school year when word of the wreck came in. Uncle Greg had died instantly. There was no pain for him.

“Good riddance, I say,” said Grandmother Rita. Angelica cried herself to sleep from then on. Summers passed slowly until she went to college and had a summer job wherever she could get one. Grandmother was proud of her for “turning her life around” since “the bad influence” was gone. All Angelica was doing was staying away, being free of the big, dark house that once surely must have held tons of laughter.

Angelica couldn’t see her mother growing up in such a house – a house not filled with laughter and music and dark curtains hiding the contents from the sun. From what Angelica could remember of her mother, Fay, she had been filled with life and the love of life. Her dad had been much like Uncle Greg – boisterous, ready to play a joke, filled with music and so much more! Grandmother Rita was perfectly quaffed every day of her life and always wore make-up and expected “the best” from her granddaughter. But, there wasn’t any good night hugs and bed-time stories. There were no cookies when she came home from school. There was no music playing, only the ever-present, incessant CNN and MSNBC on the big television in the downstairs living-room.

Angelica turned in her dream, for surely it must be a dream, and she had graduated from college and taken a position as a social services clerk in Louisville, Kentucky. There she filled her time with work, with cases, with children who so needed to laugh. Grandmother came to visit often at first, and then the visits began to dwindle until they had finally stopped all together. A letter had arrived saying she was very ill and needed to see her “only granddaughter” as soon as possible. So, Angelica had taken off work and was heading home when a drunken Caleb had appeared in her life.

“You were destined for great things, Angelica.” Angelica was once more in the old rusty red pick-up beside Uncle Greg, but it wasn’t Uncle Greg, it was Johnny, and he was smiling that handsomely seductive smile. “Great things. Your uncle knew it. So, I had to take care of him, but you didn’t follow in his footsteps did you, Angelica dear. You tried to make your own path, make your own choices, forgetting so much, but it’s a part of you isn’t it. A big part of you. Now here you are, freezing to death in the snow.”

“No, I’m not! I’m at Edna’s.” Aren’t I?

“Are you?” A big arm slipped around her slender shoulders and squeezed her tight. “Go to sleep. I’ve got you. You aren’t alone. You’ll never be alone any more.” He was so warm, so handsome. But, she was at Edna's and this was a dream.

"You can choose to be at Edna's," Johnny rumbled. "Or, you can be with me." Suddenly they weren't in the old pick-up any more, but on a wide, white sandy beach. The water was a rich blue in the distance and a bright turquoise close at hand.

Angelica felt suddenly tired of talk about choices, of always trying to please someone else. She was warm. If this was death she would take it just so she wouldn't have to make any more choices. Angelica touched her stomach. She wasn't hungry. Her feet weren't hurting, in fact, they were wiggling deep into the warm sand.

Angelica lay her head on Johnny's broad chest.

Above her Johnny smiled. It always boiled down to choices.

-- The End --

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Something Different By William Spear

This is something TOTALLY different for us. When I read this I was almost surprised at how easily it "read" in contrast to many plays I've seen. Yes, you read that correctly, a play! Enjoy, and let us know what you think. Mr. Spear has had several plays produced, including this one. Perhaps you've seen this performed. If so, let us know what you liked about the production and this format.

By William Spear

Cast (in order of appearance)
1. Old Geraldine Downes-Excitable
2. Terry Moores
3. Young Geraldine Downes-Excitable, arrogant, wealthy
4. Helen Lofted
5. Sal Rubell
6. Pat Chains

Production note:
1. Old Geraldine is frightened and fearful of the bet
about to be paid and its impact on her remaining
wealth. Young Geraldine is reckless and nearly
invincible in her wealth.
2. As wager progresses Geraldine's contempt and hatred
for Pat grows.

Casting notes:
1. Pat requires a distinctive style and pace of
speaking. Old Geraldine imitates it late in play.
2. When reading note, Pat's distinctive speaking style
is tempered and humbled from experience.
3. Old Geraldine needs character and narrator voices.

Background notes:
1. Adapted from Anton Chekhov's "The Bet".


OLD GERALDINE: It was fifteen years ago this very
night. I had a party for bankers and investors-men
and women of considerable wealth-and academics and
intellects-men and women of considerable learning.
One of the academics-Terry Moores-said capital
punishment was out of date...

OLD GERALDINE and TERRY: (OVER BED) ...immoral...

TERRY: ...and unsuitable for the United States.
(EMPHATICALLY) The death penalty should be replaced
by imprisonment for life.

HELEN: Here here. Well said Terry.

YOUNG GERALDINE: I don't agree with you. I've not
tried either the death penalty or imprisonment for
life. But the death penalty is far more moral and
humane than imprisonment for life.

SAL: Well put Geraldine. I quite agree.

HELEN: How can anyone come to that conclusion?

SAL: Capital punishment kills a man at once but
lifelong imprisonment kills him slowly. The
executioner who kills in one moment is more humane
than the one who drags life out of you for years.

TERRY: Both are equally immoral. Both have the same
object-to take away life. The State is not God. It
doesn't have the right to take away what it cannot

ALL: (SPIRITED ARGUING) "Death penalty." "Life
imprisonment." "Better to be killed at once." "Stay all means."

TERRY: (OVER ALL) Pat you've been quiet on the issue.
What does your young mind say?

PAT: The death sentence and the life sentence are
equally immoral. But if I had to choose between the
death penalty and imprisonment for life I'd choose the
second. To live under any circumstances is better
than not to live at all.


That's not true. I bet five million you wouldn't stay
in solitary confinement for five years.

PAT: If your offer's genuine than I accept the bet.
But I wager fifteen years not five.

YOUNG GERALDINE: Fifteen years? Done. Ladies and
gentlemen I stake five million dollars.

PAT: Agreed. You stake your millions and I stake my


OLD GERALDINE: Supper was a lively affair. I-smug in
my hundreds of millions-taunted Pat. Loudly I
counseled the inexperienced ideologue saying...



YOUNG GERALDINE: (OVER SFX) Think better of it Young
One while there is still time. To me five million is
nothing. A rounding error by my accountant. But you
are losing four or five of the best years of your
life. You will not last beyond that.

SAL: What Geraldine says is true. And do not forget
that voluntary confinement is a great deal harder to
bear than compulsory. I wager another five million
you do not last the fifteen years.

TERRY: I'll put up five million on Pat's behalf.

HELEN: Count me in for the other five.

YOUNG GERALDINE: The thought that you have the right
to step out into liberty at any moment will poison
your whole existence in prison. (BEAT) I am sorry
for you.


OLD GERALDINE: "Ten million" was wagered against Pat.
Mere pennies to Sal and me. Unimaginable riches to


OLD GERALDINE: But what was the object of the bet?
Why should Pat give up fifteen years of life? Why
should we throw away ten million? Could we prove the
death penalty was better or worse than imprisonment
for life?


OLD GERALDINE: No no. It was all nonsensical and
meaningless. Simple greed motivated the shallow
youth. Mindless folly born from a rich and pampered
life propelled me.


OLD GERALDINE: Pat's imprisonment began that evening.
He was confined to a small cottage on the furthest
reaches of my estate surrounded by woods. Sal read
the terms.


SAL: A watchman will supervise the cottage at all
times. You are prohibited from seeing or hearing any
human being. Neither newspapers nor magazines are
permitted. You may not have a television or radio.

TERRY: (ALARMED) No radio? Have mercy on him. A
radio might spare his mind.

SAL: No radio. (RESUMES TO PAT) You may write
letters but may not receive any. You may smoke, drink
wine, read books, play music, or look out the window.
But you must not leave the cottage.


YOUNG GERALDINE: Your term of imprisonment is exactly
fifteen years starting from midnight tonight. If you
break these conditions-if only two minutes before the
end-we are released from our obligation to pay you ten


OLD GERALDINE: With those words-and the closing of the
heavy wooden door-...


OLD GERALDINE: ...the imprisonment began.


OLD GERALDINE: During the first year Pat's notes
detailed his loneliness and depression. He played the
piano constantly.


OLD GERALDINE: He drank no wine and smoked no tobacco.
He read mostly light novels or sensational


OLD GERALDINE: In the second year he stopped playing
the piano.


OLD GERALDINE: He read only the classics. (BEAT) In
the fifth year he played the piano again.


OLD GERALDINE: Often the watchman heard Pat talking to
himself late at night...

PAT: (OFF MIC: ANGRILY) "How could I have done this
foolish thing. I'm stupid...greedy..."

OLD GERALDINE: ...or crying in the early morning.



OLD GERALDINE: In the sixth year the prisoner devoured
languages, philosophy, and history. He requested new
books each week and we struggled meet his requests.
He consumed six hundred volumes in the next four


OLD GERALDINE: In the tenth year he wrote this letter
to us.


PAT: (OVER BED: FILTERED) My dear Jailers. I write
these lines in six languages. Show them to people who
know the languages. Let them read them. If they find
not one mistake I implore you to fire two shots over
the cottage.

SAL: (BITE CUE) That violates the terms of the

TERRY: It violates nothing. He has simply asked if
his efforts are academically accurate.

SAL: The terms of his imprisonment call for solitary
confinement. He asks us to cheat for him.

HELEN: He asks for nothing of the sort.

to the rest.

PAT: (FILTERED) Those shots will show me that my
efforts have not been thrown away. The geniuses of
all ages and of all lands speak different languages
but the same flame burns in them all. (BEAT) If you
only knew what unearthly happiness my soul now feels
from understanding them.

ALL: "Send the shots." "He's cheating." "That's not


OLD GERALDINE: Later-when everyone had left the
mansion-I crept out to the watchman's hut and fired
two shots.


OLD GERALDINE: At the same time the stock market moved
against me. My fortune-once grand and in the hundreds
of millions-was halved. "Just a bit of bad luck" I
told Sal and Helen. But I prayed my luck would


OLD GERALDINE: In his eleventh, twelfth, and
thirteenth years of confinement Pat sat as still as a
cross and read only the Gospel. The six hundred
learned volumes previously mastered were discarded for
the thin easily comprehended text of Gospel.


OLD GERALDINE: But if his new Chosen Text was easy to
understand the stock markets were not.

ALL: (BED) "Buy." "Sell." "Buy."

OLD GERALDINE: The value of my investments halved
again and teetered between recovery and further
disaster. Small gains on one day were wiped out by
losses on the next.

ALL: (BED: FRANTICALLY) "Sell." "At any price."
"Sell it all."

OLD GERALDINE: I grasped at long shots doubling and
tripling my positions only to watch my wealth
disappear faster.


OLD GERALDINE: In the last two years of confinement
the prisoner lurched from the natural sciences to
Byron and Shakespeare to chemistry medicine and
novels. The man plunged from philosophy to theology
to history. He raced along clutching for intellectual
pieces amidst his emotional wreckage to keep himself


OLD GERALDINE: My investments-once gaudy and buoyant
as an ocean liner-had nearly sunk. Minor rallies
occasionally lifted my wealth only to dash it again.
At length the date and time of the final crushing wave
surged before me.


OLD GERALDINE: The date was fifteen years to the day.
Eleven fifteen at night.


OLD GERALDINE: Sal-my co-conspirator of "The
Wager"-joined me. As did the prisoner's friend Helen.

SAL: In forty-five minutes it'll be twelve midnight.

HELEN: Pat'll win the bet. Incredibly stupendously
he'll win the bet.

OLD GERALDINE: And I'll be ruined. Finished.
Bankrupt forever.

HELEN: It's not that bad.

SAL: You must've set some aside.

OLD GERALDINE: No. I've doubled and tripled for
years. My losses are many times what you've suffered.
(TO SELF) Cursed bet. Why didn't he die?

SAL: Pat'll not let the bet ruin you.

OLD GERALDINE: He'll take my last penny and marry.
He'll enjoy life and gamble on the stock market. All
the while I'll look at him with envy-like a beggar.

HELEN: He'll help you.

OLD GERALDINE: That's even worse. He'll say the same
thing every day (IMITATING PAT): "I am indebted to you
for the happiness of my life. Let me help you." (OWN
VOICE) No it's too much.

HELEN: (OFF MIC) Come back.

SAL: (OFF MIC) Where'll you be?

contemplating my financial death.


OLD GERALDINE: My words were only partly true. I
"was" going to my chambers but the death I foresaw was
the prisoner's not mine. It was the only means of
saving myself from bankruptcy and disgrace. (BEAT) I
retrieved the key to the cottage.


ONCE (11:30PM).

OLD GERALDINE: Eleven-thirty. One half-hour
until...the rain battered the trees and froze my
bones. The woods were dark except for one small


OLD GERALDINE: I moved toward the light and it grew
constant and larger. The shadowy outline of walls
dimly rose around the light. It was the man's
cottage. Lights blazing-triumphantly expectantly
richly. All was lost.


OLD GERALDINE: I crept to the watchman's hut but he
wasn't there. I suspected he'd gone to sleep in the
warm dry greenhouse. Now was my chance-if I; if the prisoner died-the watchman would
be blamed. He's responsible for the prisoner's
safety. The prisoner would be found dead and it would
be the watchman's fault.


OLD GERALDINE: I circled around to the window. He was
seated at a table with his back to me. Books lay
everywhere. On the chairs...the table...the floor.
He didn't move.


OLD GERALDINE: One quarter of an hour separated me
from ruin. I crept to the window and tapped on it.
Nothing...I tapped again. Nothing. I delicately
eased the key into the wooden door and released the


OLD GERALDINE: My heart sank as the ancient spring
announced my presence. I stood stock-still for three
minutes but nothing happened. I went in.


OLD GERALDINE: He was asleep. His hair was long and
shaggy with streaks of silver. His skin was taut and
he looked like a porcelain skeleton.


OLD GERALDINE: Now was my chance. I'd throw him to
the floor and suffocate him with a pillow. He
couldn't resist and the finest medical examiner in the
county would say he died in his sleep.


OLD GERALDINE: With the pillow in my left hand and my
right hand ready to throw him to the ground I readied
for the task. That was when I saw his note. I
stopped to read his words.

PAT: (FILTERED) Tonight at midnight I regain my
freedom. But before I leave this room it is necessary
to say a few words to you. I despise freedom, life,
health, and all that your books call the "good things"
of the world.


PAT: For fifteen years I have been intently studying
earthly life. Your books have given me wisdom. I
know that I am wiser than you.


PAT: You may be proud and fine but death will wipe you
off the face of the earth as though you were no more
than mice burrowing under the floor.


PAT: You have lost your reason and taken the wrong
path. You have taken lies for truth and hideousness
for beauty.


PAT: To prove you how I despise all that you live by I
renounce the ten million of which I once dreamed of as
paradise. I shall go from here before the agreed
time-midnight tonight.


OLD GERALDINE: His words shamed me and I left the
cottage. Never-even while foolishly betting millions
on the Stock Exchange-never had I felt such loathing
for myself.


OLD GERALDINE: I slipped back to the mansion unseen by
the others and hid in my chamber. It wouldn't take
long for...



OLD GERALDINE: A few minutes after midnight Sal and
Helen burst into my chamber.

SAL: (EXCITEDLY) Geraldine come at once.

OLD GERALDINE: What's the matter?

HELEN: Pat's gone.

OLD GERALDINE: Are you sure?

HELEN: The watchman saw him climb out the window and
run into the woods. You must come.


OLD GERALDINE: We went to the cottage. The door was
open and everything was as I'd seen it a few minutes
earlier. Sal and Helen searched the woods. (BEAT) I
quietly pocketed Pat's note renouncing the ten

#30#--The End

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Have you ever had those days where "today" feels special? It just feels like today, like now and everything sort of fits. It doesn't fit perfectly, of course, there are bills to pay, money to budget, time to budget, food to cook, house to clean, but there is also time to just sit in the warm sunshine, or walk in the warm sunshine of a garden-to-be and relax in the moment of today. Tomorrow is going to come and there will be different problems, different organizations to organize, and life will be just as hectic, but there is enough time in today to take a moment for myself (you) to just Be.

Sometimes when I was younger I would watch my Dad walk around in the untilled field, his hands in his back pockets, his hat on his head sort of cock-eyed and watch his posture and his face. He was seeing the garden in full bloom and growth just before time for harvest. He was also just enjoying that particular moment of standing there in the middle of his field.

Today, I had the same sort of experience. It was most unexpected. I am sitting on the ramp, pen in hand, sun shining, and everything just sort of took a deep breath. It was a moment of expectation of things to come with flowers and continued warm weather, of good days, of time well spent and productive. Then, without warning, there was this over-whelming view of just how beautiful everything is in my back yard and Time was my friend, not my enemy. It felt like a day for living and being. No matter what the rest of the day had in store, or for tomorrow, all that truly mattered was that moment - all that mattered was today.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Tick Tock

So much has happened in the short span of two weeks to make changes in how we perceive things, at least they have for me. Terri Schiavo's case caused me to look at the world and my situation a little bit more differently. It made me pause and consider my place and what I needed to do to keep it. Now, Pope John Paul II has passed.

There have been long, sometimes rambling biographies of Pope John Paul II and how he has affected the lives of many Catholics. Now he has gone, what is going to happen to the Catholic world?

Some have said they would like a more "progressive" Pope who would look upon ordaining women as priests and the election and favorable on-looking of same-sex marriages, as well as abortion, which this Pope stood strongly against. He saw a difference between political freedom and religion, belief and faith.

Most people shown on the news have been highly upset for losing their Bishop of Rome. Others are hopeful for the progressive Pope to be elected.

What would actually happen if a progressive Pope were elected? Would Catholicism even be Catholicism with rules and etiquette and order any more? Or would it be more like the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and all the other Protestant religions? Isn't their order something that keeps them different?

I'm curious to see what is going to happen with the Cardinals and who they choose as the next Pope. I hope they choose carefully, and I'm not even Catholic!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Prayer for the Departed

Christ our eternal King and God, You have destroyed death and the devil by Your Cross and have restored man to life by Your Resurrection; give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your servant Terri Schiavo who has fallen asleep, in Your Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. In Your goodness and love for all men, pardon all the sins she has committed in thought word or deed, for there is no man or woman who lives and sins not, You only are without sin.

For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and Repose of Your servant Terri Schiavo, departed this life, O Christ our God; and to You do we send up glory with Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen