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Category Archives: memoirs

I’M BACK!!!!!

Hey everyone. I am back with a vengeance and a lot on my mind! I’m here to create and have a controversial time. I love passion and politics, soul mate love and hot sultry desire, Shakespeare on fire and Global warming & Climate Control, women’s rights and sexy attire, debates and civil rights, I intend to use my pain and rise to spectacular heights and make this blog the best site on WordPress.com. and the whole wide world because if you want it dished, then I am your girl. I’ll give you luscious romance and the latest in government scandals, Zeitgeist and the war mongers and drones and Princess Di’s death, Prince Will and the royal throne, World Peace and the Military Money Machine, torture and terrorism, conspiracy theories, poetry, stories, the meaning of dreams, memoirs, reviews, editorials, Jill’s party that’s green, humor and how laughter will cure anything, in-depth religious debates and world news, spirituality, yoga, Pilates, meditation and Sharon Saltzberg, sustainable energy and music for the soul, the healthiest & delicious food and the diet debates, Theater and the Arts, New York City and Greenwich Village, movie reviews, Noam Chomsky, illegal search and seizure, alternative lifestyles and traditional fare of the day, women’s power and men everywhere, Mohammed and Jesus and Jesuit Priests, heaven and hell, Creation versus Evolution, Why we are IN a revolution and don’t know it and it’s all well?, the secret of success and why life is unfair, surviving abuse and unveiling the shame to empower and control it, how to win at the jealousy game, Tuscany villas and starving children in India, Congo & the great USA! Obama’s spying on Fox and the Cat in the Hat, Are we losing our freedom of speech and where is it at? Where is Bin Laden’s body and Kennedy’s brain? Can you not stop the killing & torture of your fellow man, the Patriot Act is in violation of the First Amendment, the right to detain, search & torture without legal counsel or cause, John Lennon imagined a dream and so did King and JFK, can we stand by and do nothing for world peace without going insane? You want it, I got it and til I drop I shall write, I’ll capture your heart, mind and soul if it takes me all night!

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What I Have Learned of Life

What I Have Learned of Life.


What I Have Learned of Life

Never judge anyone. Never allow anyone to judge you. Never think you know everything because you don’t. Never cower and NEVER NOT DO anything and everything in your power that you believe to be true and right and just and morally sound simply because others may not approve or agree. What you do or say just may save a life-yours, theirs, or many, many more. Do not blindly follow anyone because NO ONE knows everything…. or really anything. If people blindly conform to and follow without question “The Establishment/Dictatorial Authority” then they lose their God-given autonomy and this blind submission can (and usually does) result in acts of cruelty, inhumane treatment, destruction and/or death.

Blindly following and not standing for your own moral convictions is the reason for world anarchy and our own inner chaos. All loss of life and murder is immoral no matter what the “justification”. The destruction of another person’s spirit either by blatantly attacking them or by deliberately dismissing them is tragic and cause for extreme sadness-for what you give (or deny) will be given back to you (or withheld from you) in turn. Pay it forward. Do something good for someone else every day and don’t expect anything back from them. All true heroes had the courage, conviction and moral fortitude to stand up against an “establishment of power and authoritarian configuration”…and that’s why they are deemed Super Heroes. They had the moral conviction and courage to speak out and do something to change things for the better and most often saved lives. This I call refined indignation….standing firmly with dignity, grace and honor.

Smile when you feel like crying because smiles are contagious and produce powerful endorphins. Participating in rudeness and disregarding people is cruel and deplorable. Love with your entire heart, soul and mind. And then love some more. Cruelty to another human being is wrong no matter what the “supposed justification”. Respect and loyalty are not options but requirements in all positive and healthy relationships and literally essential for any relationship to even exist. No one should feel badly about themselves just because another person or persons may not agree with their beliefs, their faith, their looks, their lifestyle, etc. Just be in the moment and love in the moment. Give to those who will receive you, breathe in your life, and then love some more again.

Sometimes we must do or say things in order to try to help others even though they don’t want our help or even realize that they need it. We must do this no matter how much it hurts us or them because we love them so much. This usually comes under the heading of “I did it for your own good” and typically is for our children. In fact we have NO right to do this to another adult- who is not our child- unless they ask for our help or are in a life or death situation and/or are unable to ask for the help they need. That is the time we must help them. Children (even adult) usually do not realize that it really does hurt us more than it hurts them and we must accept their hatred and rejection (hopefully for only a little while-although perhaps even a lifetime) because we do love them so much. Parents would give their lives for their children and until you are a parent you will not understand this. If you are then it does not even need to be spoken.

If a person does not want you in their life, stop trying to be in it. To continue to try to be in a person’s life who does not want you or accept you for who you are is detrimental to you. We all need love and acceptance. We cannot live and thrive with rage, hatred, mercilessness, and emotional exclusion. It is very healthy to argue and express our opinions and very unhealthy not to express them.  To reject someone simply because they did express their beliefs shows that a person is unable to accept anyone else’s beliefs that differ from those of their own. Persons like this cannot truly love another because in order to love another you must accept them for who they are and no two people will ever have all the identical beliefs and convictions. Everyone is unique. This must be accepted by both persons in a relationship or the relationship cannot exist.

Forgive everyone freely and if they cannot forgive you, move on. You don’t need them in your life. You cannot change anyone else; you can only change yourself and people in healthy relationships recognize and understand this realism. The push and pull will always be a battle but if you love someone enough and want them in your life, you accept them for who they are and do not try to change them. There is a healthy give and take and freedom of expression in all successful lasting relationships.

Everyone should be able to express their feelings and emotions without fear of rejection. Repressing ones emotions only leads to serious and sometimes fatal consequences. Accept a person’s feelings. Validate them. You do not have to agree with them, but you do have to respect them-if you want them in your life. If someone asks for your advice, give it, if not, don’t. Never gossip. Be loyal to those you love. Without loyalty, there is no relationship. Try to always be there emotionally to support those you care about in your life. They should ideally do the same for you.  Support is essential.

Never try to force your beliefs or opinions upon others. People should be free to openly express their beliefs and should expect those beliefs to be accepted whether they are shared or not. Choose your battles wisely. But always fight for what (and who) you believe in. And try to do it as peacefully and tactfully as possible. Don’t fight people, but do not allow them to disrespect, degrade and trample on you either. Communicate to them if they have hurt you. If they cannot acknowledge your feelings and refuse to apologize for hurting you, move on. If you apologize sincerely to someone but they refuse to forgive you because you have hurt them in any way, move on. And if anyone refuses to allow you into their life, move right along. Your life is short and you do not have the time or energy to dwell on other people’s issues. You can only do your best, love, forgive, accept and then move on. Do not fight people, but do fight “The Establishment”… of any “System” that is run by a group of people called “authorities” whose laws/rules/prohibitions/actions you feel directly or indirectly exert a detrimental  control, force and/or affect over those whom you love and care about.

Open dialogue and communication (whether passionate and heated or not) if done in a respectful manner is very healing to both parties in a relationship (and all humans for that matter!). Disagreeing with someone else does not mean you do not respect them, in fact if you do respect them you should have the maturity to engage in stimulating dialogue and debate and come away with a stronger relationship than ever, respecting one another’s beliefs and reveling in their diversity.  This is because we are all different and no one should expect another person to conform to their beliefs (religious, political, moral, etc.) and that be a condition as to whether they are accepted into their life-or not. If that be the case, then we are all doomed and that is why the world is in such a state. Although this may be the natural progression of lawlessness in our society, should we submit to such behavior? Or should we not live and die for righteousness, peace and love for one another? Was that not what HE taught and how HE lived?

Everyone wants to be heard but no wants to listen and everyone hates to admit they just may not be right or even accept that they probably are wrong-about just about everything they believe in at this moment in time. But that does not make it irrelevant and less important-for our beliefs, morals and convictions make us who we are and give us reasons to live.

Join causes that you believe are morally right and fight hard for them. Do not be afraid to be heard. Love humanity. Love this earth. Love this Universe. It is your home. Above all, love your fellow man. Never be averse to learning something new. Always have an open mind. It just may change your outlook on everything and, by extension, your entire life. Always believe in yourself, no matter what others say or do to you. Everyone, flawed as we all are, is beautiful in their own unique way. God does not create ugly. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by evil, then it will usually consume a vast degree of our beauty and that is tragic. But that is life. We must accept the flow of existence, the natural order that our Creator established, but we must reject the unnatural disorder that “man”, most often in an “establishment and totalitarian” manner, attempts to assert upon us through their collective created beliefs and ideas which usually are completely in contrast to the moral code of God’s and nature’s laws.

Believe this: The only thing we really know is what we believe to be truth here and now and that is merely our perception of reality which is essentially nothing but our own blind faith-without which we truly are nothing.

Sharon Lynn Van Meter

Copyright 2012


An Annotation of Katherine Hepburn’s

An Annotation of Katherine Hepburn’s Me: My Life in Stories

 

Katherine Hepburn was born on May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut. Her mother was Catherine Martha Houghton and her father was Dr. Thomas Norval Hepburn.  She was the second to the oldest of six children. Her father was very athletic and encouraged Katherine and her siblings to become interested in almost every sport. As a result, Katherine became adept at such sports as gymnastics, swimming, diving, golf and tennis and continued to excel in many of these activities throughout her life.

Her mother and father were active in the women’s movement and her mother became the head of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. Her parents were well-educated, well-read, and progressive advocates of social, political and economic reform and equal rights for women. They were “dedicated to the bettering of men and women”  and they instilled a fierce independence, determination, enthusiasm, ambition and strength in Hepburn which would prove invaluable to her throughout her life.

Katherine wrote “Me: Stories of My Life”, her memoirs, in a conspiratorially intimate first person voice from an adult perspective. She utilized, at times, a nonchalant matter-of-fact autobiographical tone peppered with the keen sense of humor, style and decorum for which she has become legendary. Although she wrote from her viewpoint at the time the memoirs were written, which was well into her eighties, she aspired to stay true to the timeline of the story which spanned from her childhood in the early 1900’s to the time of the book being written, which was in the 1980’s. Her early life was centered on a comfortable lifestyle provided by her parents in an upper-class social atmosphere. The family employed a nurse, cook and housekeeper. She admits that she is a snob and, most refreshingly, writes like one.

The fact that Hepburn can so candidly laugh at her own snobbery, selfishness and temper is in and of itself a testimony to her honest nature. Her ability to never take herself too seriously and her often brutal exploration of herself and her life grabbed and held my interest, commanded my respect, and tugged at my heartstrings. Her frank narration of her brother’s suicide left me reeling.

She narrated this event from both the innocent voice of a fourteen year old girl’s bewilderment and shock at discovering her sixteen year old brother hanged and the eighty-something year old woman’s wise yet still possibly even more bemused voice attempting to speak for that little girl. Hepburn’s account of this terrible tragedy and she and her family’s apparent inability to come to terms with it, illicit feelings of compassion and helplessness from the reader as we understand that Hepburn has not ever fully come to terms with this tragedy.

How does one ever reconcile one’s self to something like that? On a personal note, I am aware that I have never been capable of properly voicing my own feelings at discovering my late husband’s death engineered in the same manner as Hepburn’s brother’s suicide. Her ruminations reflect the icy cold aftermath in which survivors of suicide are left to dwell; “…I burst into tears. This is what I thought I should do. People die-you cry-but inside I was frozen.” The fact is that seventy something years after this horrific event, Hepburn is still in denial; “Actually Tom’s death remains unexplained” and “Dad made a statement that it was very possible that Tom was practicing hanging himself. Dad had told us of a trick of pretending to hang as a kid”. This seems to in some way corroborate my own feelings of incongruity concerning my late husband’s death.

Although, Hepburn’s close family ties are evident and pronounced throughout “Me”, the majority of her memoirs are centered on her acting career. She focuses on each of her movies and goes into detail about many of them as well as her numerous disastrous attempts at acting in the theatre. However her professional life is so completely entwined around her personal life-friendships and lovers that she manages to efficiently weave everything into a series of memory flashes. These ultimately join together to bring the reader an accurate picture of what was most important to her. Her ties with family and friends were strong. Her ambition and selfishness were possibly even stronger. She was a shrewd businesswoman. She admittedly used people to get ahead, yet she was fiercely loyal to those who were loyal to her. She was many times selfless, although in the long run, the selflessness would ultimately benefit her own goals and desires.

I must admit that one of the reasons which I decided to read Hepburn’s memoir’s, aside from the fact that I have always been impressed with her strong blatant attitudes on feminism, was to uncover the mystery of Katherine Hepburn’s alleged affair with Spencer Tracy. I must also confess that I have seen few, if any, of Tracy’s movies and knew next to nothing about the man prior to reading Me other than that he and Hepburn were reportedly lovers and that he was a married man. Of course, Hepburn is astutely aware of this and saves it until the very end of the book; “Now I’m going to tell you about Spencer. You may think you’ve waited a long time. But let’s face it, so did I” (391).  If this is a tell all book-and it is to a point-Hepburn still manages to do this without doing it, so to speak…

For instance, she tells of her love affairs but never gives the details of whom she was intimate with and who she was not. This voice of decorum is not only founded in the time and era in which Hepburn was born and bred, but also in her character. No matter what anyone comes away with after reading this book, and there are a lot-insights, truths, pain, laughter and a life fully lived-it can never be argued that Hepburn was a anything but a lady.

Her honesty can also never come into question. Hepburn admits that she and Spencer Tracy lived together, that he was married, and that she indeed found him in bed dead. But she is careful to never state openly that she slept with him. In fact, she speaks of lying on the floor beside his bed talking him to sleep because he was an insomniac. She talks of going to see him in the casket prior to the funeral but not attending the actual funeral as it would not have been proper, although they were together for “nearly thirty years”. She does say; “I loved Spencer Tracy”. Her struggle to define this love, just as she defines her life, is simple yet insightful and moving; “LOVE has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get-only with what you are expecting to give-which is everything”.

Sharon Lynn Van Meter

Copyright 2008

Works Cited

Hepburn, Katherine. Me: Stories of My Life. New York: Random House, 1991.


A Time for Reflection

A Time for Reflection

Women have a very difficult time saying no. We are pushed and pulled from every conceivable direction, from children to spouses, from friends to business acquaintances, from obligations to more obligations. We must be there for everyone and we must fulfill all of our obligations, after all it is our responsibility and we simply have no choice, or do we?

Anne Lindbergh penned her memoirs “Gift from the Sea” as a series of present-tense logs in a diary she kept during her visits to her home by the sea during the 1950’s. She used different types of shells or stones from the beach or sea to convey meaning in regard to different aspects of her life.

Anne Truitt, author of the journal/memoir “Daybook,” wrote her memoirs in first person, present-tense over a period of seven years, spanning from 1973 to 1981. Sbe focuses on her family, her art and writing and the combination of them all.

Both Lindbergh and Truitt were successful artists and loving, devoted mothers. They also enjoyed full social lives and stimulating friendships as well as the much needed rejuvenation, inspiration and peace afforded by self-imposed solitude. Intimacy and privacy was essential to them and both acknowledged that women thrive on it. Sensitivity was vital to them both as well and Anne Truitt eloquently surmises this in Daybook when she states; “Many of us [women] have been lonely too, deprived by our male peers of that sensitivity they had to brutalize out of themselves…” (200). But that which is crucial and speaks volumes regarding these accomplished women and their flourishing lives is the profound emphasis they placed on alone time; it was not a luxury to them; it was a source of survival. As Lindbergh says:

Actually these are among the most important times in one’s life-when one is

alone. Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose, the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves…” (Lindbergh, 44).

Lindberg elaborates on the essence of what it means to nourish the woman’s soul by articulating that Virginia Woolf’s thoughts in her classic work on the woman artist, A Room of One’s Own, which merely cracked the door for women to enter. Although Woolf acknowledges the financial security required for a woman to purchase the room, or the time, of her own, she stresses that “…even in poverty and obscurity, [to write] is worthwhile (125).” For instance, both Lindbergh and Truitt were both financially able to afford this time to rejuvenate and replenish their inner selves, however Lindbergh acknowledges that the “problem is not entirely in finding the room of one’s own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as this is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact the problem is how to feed the soul” (Lindbergh, 45).

According to Lindbergh, the demanding lives which most women lead are not ones of simplicity but of multiplicity “that the wise men warn us about” (20). It is interesting here to note that it is “men” who are presumed wise. Could this be because most men have no difficulty or reservations whatsoever in saying no, especially to something or someone which interferes with their plans or personal alone time? I must agree with Ms. Lindbergh in her hypothesis that this life of multiplicity which most women lead “does not bring grace; it destroys the soul” (20).

If this is so, then why do women continue to allow themselves to be pushed to the absolute breaking point? There are many possible reasons, from the archetypal female ideal, which society has placed upon a pedestal for all women to emulate, to the biological roles assigned to women in motherhood, to the women’s liberation movement which theoretically delivered equal rights for women.  But these rights failed to get past the front door of the living room. Women could bring home the bacon and cook it up in a pan, whereas until just recently (and still it appears to be rarely), men were only expected to bring the bacon home but not step a foot into the kitchen. That was women’s territory, along with the nursery, the laundry room, entertaining, shopping, the list is endless. To an alarming degree, this idea that women must not only conquer the outside world but remain in control of all domestic responsibilities, especially that of rearing children, remains prevalent even in modern society.

It is somewhat disconcerting that a strong, independent and self-reliant woman such as Truitt says of her domestic responsibilities, “I could lower my standards but in doing so would sink with them, taking my children with me” (Daybook, 63.) However she swiftly defends this statement, by stressing the importance of structured mealtimes to nurture children through stimulating conversation. Ms. Truitt must be commended for her unswerving devotion and untiring dedication to her family and her artistic craft.  Although she steadily pushes herself to the limit time and time again, she not only takes time for her children, friends and social life, but also for herself.

The profound insight found in Anne Lindbergh’s compelling questions is a revelation and assertion regarding her hypothesis that a life of multiplicity destroys the soul. She asks; “Can one actually find oneself in someone else? In someone else’s love? Or even in the mirror someone else holds up for one” (60)?  She echoes her answer by quoting Eckhart, the German born spiritual teacher and author of The Power of Now; “going into one’s own ground and knowing oneself” is the only way to find one’s true identity (Eckhart qtd in Lindbergh, 60). She further expands on the dilemma of the overwhelming demands faced by women, especially by loved ones, by saying “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds” (Lindbergh, 116) and with understated grace and timeless eloquence, Ms. Lindbergh instructs all women how seemingly simple it is to feed one’s soul: “The past is so far away and the near past is so horrible and the future is so perilous, that the present has a chance to expand into a golden eternity of here and now” (Lindbergh, 118).

So if we as women can beg, borrow, buy or steal the time and place to be alone, how do we nourish our depleted bodies, minds, hearts and souls once we are alone? Anne Truitt dreams. She dreams a repetitive dream about the sea (which seems to be a milieu for the creative process.) She dreams of a man whom she is deeply in love with, indeed she is “one with (84)” Stating that their “bodies are the same texture (83)” and she and this man “love one another so closely that each other is only as much as we are other than the sea (84).” In the dream, Truitt and her lover are carried into a crescendo of surging and crashing waves and once more, as in the other dreams, they survive. However, the end of her dream is crucial to the nature of the male /female relationship in context with the fierce, lonely, elated independence of woman as artist and individual; “The magic begins to recede. The color is draining from the rocks, the water, and our bodies. We are separating. We are conscious of each other. We are separate. I begin to feel ‘I’ ” (Truitt, 84, 85).

According to Truitt, the man in her dreams is her animus, the masculine aspect of her personality which affords her the strength and, dare I say-selfishness- to become an independent and successful artist. She learns to “create” the ability to “create” by recognizing and nurturing what her soul needs and how to feed it.  All women must follow this example and create the time, place, state of mind needed, to seek out the people who nourish our souls and to discard those who deplete our dreams and who hamper our inner peace. In essence, we must do what likely appears brutally selfish and insensitive to women who have long accepted the roles of socially appointed caretaker and self-inflicted martyr, and ask ourselves the candid and philosophical question: What do I want?

Works Cited

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Gift from the Sea. New York: Pantheon Books, 1955.

Tolle, Eckhart. The Power of Now. Canada: New World Library, 1999.

Truitt, Anne. Daybook: The Journal of an Artist. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 1982.

Sharon Lynn Van Meter

Copyright 2008