On Ravens, Positive Thinking, Complainers, Friends, Writers

Suddenly last week … I realized I had not entered anything here.  What is there to say?  It was not “a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.”  It was in the middle of the afternoon, and I was indeed pondering weak and weary not over a volume but over my also quaint and curious fate in the hands of three physicians who cannot come to an agreement as to the cause of my malady.  When they give me contradictory opinions, I don’t know what to do. I tend to follow all of them, just in case. So far, nothing, absolutely nothing, has helped me. On the contrary, I have a feeling I am getting worse. (By the way, a raven did come and perched on the railing of the terrace outside my bedroom!  Scary…)

This feeling has been aggravated by the sudden disappearance act of several friends.  I honestly don’t know what is going on, and the only thing I can think of is that they got tired of looking after me, bringing food, sending messages, calling. I am lucky to have some good friends left, but they all happen to be far away. And our daughters are also far away — I keep restating it, but it needs repetition. I also do it because I still get some questions about all these matters.  I have noticed that some people read my blogs, but they comment or concentrate on only one aspect.  They have “busy” lives (made busy by them)  and I dwell on too many subjects — which is contrary to what is recommended, I know. But who cares. I ramble on, and that’s how I do it…

I was almost on the verge of not writing when I came across a book that Rosana had recommended, Bright-Sided.  How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America, by Barbara Ehrenreich.  I will not go into its contents – the title tells a lot – just quote the dedication:  “To complainers everywhere: Turn up the volume!”  I know.  Some will argue that you can find anything you want in order to substantiate your beliefs.  So what, I tell them.  I have a right to believe in this, and my current circumstances have proven I am right. The only comfort I am getting is from friends who still care, but who don’t live here now. I have also met some others through Facebook, and they have proved to be truly caring.  Should I then “accentuate the positive” as the song urges us?  Why should I, when I don’t feel like doing it?

Way back I remember when we were in Urbana, Illinois —  Guido had strong  back spasms in the middle of the night and the doctor recommended some medication.  Who would get it at 3:00AM?  Friend to the rescue!  Andrés Avellaneda got up, went to the pharmacy, and brought it to us.  Next —  Guido was in the hospital after his back surgery.  I was alone. A light bulb had burned out, and it was in an impossible place to reach.  Friend to the rescue!  Richard Preto-Rodas came and helped.  Now, here – we have several light bulbs that have decided to die.  Guido is not in the hospital, but when he tried to change one, he realized that looking up made him even more dizzy (he is on antibiotics these days).  I remembered my cleaning lady had told me about an electrician who was a friend, so I called her to get his number.  A few minutes later her husband called.  He asked what was wrong, and when he heard, he said he would come and change them all. No charge, of course.  Only, he has to come on Monday, as it is his only day off.  Who’d have thought that we’d have to rely on the kindness of strangers now??? Good thing they exist!

I do have to thank several writers who have placed their babies in my feeble hands to nurture them. They have provided me with a reason for getting up and doing something I truly love. And they have made my hands stronger and my brain functional. I don’t know what I would do without their challenge. They deserve so much more than my thanks, really!  They need to be known and read: Vicky Koch/Sophia Knightly, David Bishop, Mona Risk, Trinidad Giachino, Kathleen McLaughlin, Deborah Crombie, Vicki Delany, Angelica Rose, Dean Sault, Jack Hrusoff, Dorothy McIntosh, Donna Carrick.  Gracias and thanks!!!

Am I following Ms. Ehrenreich’s exhortation?  Yes!  I found someone out there who understands. And if I want to complain, so be it, and it should be in a loud voice.  I have indeed turned up the volume. And it feels good!!!


About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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6 Responses to On Ravens, Positive Thinking, Complainers, Friends, Writers

  1. Vicki Delany says:

    A touching post Martha. I’m sending good thoughts your way, for what that’s worth. And feel free to complain, some people deserve to be able to.

  2. martisima says:

    Thanks so much to you, dear Vicki. Your writings have always helped during these trying times. Keep it up!!

    And thanks too for understanding. Many still don’t get it… 😦

  3. Mona Risk says:

    Hi Martha, complain all you want. I call it vent. It helps get better when you share it with others. Seriously. You have earned that right. LOL
    Happy Mother’s Day.

    • martisima says:

      Thanks so very much, dear Mona! Sharing with friends like you, who understand, helps a lot. I truly appreciate it!!!

      Happy Mother’s Day to you too, and let’s hope next time you come to this area we can get together!!!

  4. sophiaknightly says:

    Hola Martha – great blog post!

    Every person has the inherent desire to be heard. It’s part of our human condition, isn’t it? We also have the “right” to be heard, whether our message is sharing good news, complaining or venting. So please do crank up the volume and share your feelings and thoughts. There’s validity in the saying, “if it feels good, do it” 😉

    It is disheartening when dear friends disappear, especially when you need them most. But if it’s any consolation, remember there are new friends to be made who can help fill the void.

    And thank you very much for the mention of my writing, dear Martha. I treasure the friendship we’ve developed and I value your excellent feedback my books.

    • martisima says:

      You are so very special dear Sophia, and as you say, all my new friends are helping fill the void created by others who claimed to be friends. Now, they have a defensive attitude, saying they are indeed busy. I wonder … The three comments I got here are from writers who are extremely busy with their professional as well as personal lives!

      I also treasure our friendship, and have to thank YOU for providing me with the pleasure of reading your works and the challenge of giving you feedback (which you actually don’t need, but are generous to share)!

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