Prompt Week 05/15/2017 – Shadow, Photograph, Darkness, Ode to Strangers, Swinging & Sliding
Ode To Strangers
I see you. I have watched you from near and far. You have not seen me though. I would have known if you had by the startle in your eyes, the slight stiffening in your shoulders, the tightening at your lips or the little tremble in your fingertips. None of you, in all the places I have watched, have spied, have studied, have ever had the slightest hint of my presence. Or, at least of my focus on you. I have not always been obscured by the darkness, though it generally began there. The shadows are my friend and co-conspirator, veiling me whilst I learn and watch, making notes in my book of you. The places you like most, the foods you order most often, the things you dislike that make your scowl. I also bring my camera with me. Just the little one most of the time. I do need the big one if I am a distance away. But, I keep it in the car behind the seat always, just in case. But, the little one fits nicely in my pocket, almost silent when I click the button to take photographs to go with my writings. I print them at home and watch with anticipation as they slide out of the printer. Full color, glossy memories of my day with you. I add them to the rest on the lines over my bed. This is so I can look on your faces as I close my eyes to sleep at night. I just lay there, tapping gently on the newest pictures and watch them swinging and sliding along the lines. A dancing mobile of all of you. Often, I smile, needing just a little bit more and I reach for the box next to the bed and spread out the contents across my lap on the blanket. The presents. One from each of you. Grandma’s ring. Father’s cufflink. Mother’s necklace. Sister’s bracelet. All wrapped up in a soft piece of velvet in the box. And in a little jar next to them, a tooth from each of you. The blood has dried almost black on them and I have to be very careful so it doesn’t flake off. They just wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t have that part of you as well.
This room, this place, these treasures are all an Ode to you, once strangers. But now you are all mine. Strangers no more. And fear not. I will find others to join you. The family will grow. Yes, the family has only just begun.
When I scanned the painting, I accidentally scanned it in grayscale first. I decided I liked how it came out and thought I would add it at the bottom.
I must say that I am even more in respect of Mr. Trudeau after reading his autobiography. The first half of the book is about his family, childhood and how all of that shaped him into the man that he is. He speaks of his mother and her struggle with bi-polar disease, how she has become a spokesperson for it and his immense respect and love for her. His father, former PM of Canada and strict in many ways, but also a very loving father. He took time every day to spend quality time with his children. And raised them to never believe themselves ,to be better than others, with some very interesting examples. He speaks of the loss of his brother and the crushing impact it had on the family. He speaks of his wife, Sofie, how they had known each other through his brother, the depth of the love and respect he holds for her and the family they have made.
The respect he shows for all people shows as a part of his core makeup as is evidenced by his words. His belief in women’s rights, the rights of immigrants, the rights of the poor and displaced. The theme that is repeated throughout the book is, We are stronger not in spite of, but because of our diversity. We, as Americans, can learn much from his lessons.
I have probably somewhat unfairly given it only four stars because I was far less enraptured with the second half of the book as he spoke at much length about his rise through the political system. Though I realize its importance, I found it rather tedious at many points. I did appreciate the things he had to say about equality and a more equal distribution of wealth, which most economists state as a necessity for a healthy economy and society. And though the US holds the gauntlet on the extremes on this, it has become an issue in many, if not most countries. He also spoke much about the inclusion of all people in Canada and how they came close to becoming two Canadas and the steps taken that prevented that. He ends the book with an absolutely beautiful First Nation’s poem.
Its worth reading to learn more about this amazing man and its also full of pictures of him! 🙂
The Mermaid’s Singing by Val McDermid
This was just a nice taste of twisted! You have a serial killer who is fascinated with ancient torture methods, is a skilled handyman and makes his own rack and other devices after seeing them in a museum and finding a picture book. You just have to love picture books, don’t you? They can show you so much. Add to that, he keeps a recorded diary of his work and its outcome. And to add just another taste of twisted to it, he video tapes them and feeds them into a virtual game computer to be relived over and over.
Tony Hill is a psychologist that has been hired to try and create a profile of this killer. A minor problem is that he finds the killer fascinating. He’s actually a bit turned on by him. And in his off hours, he is stalked by a phone sex worker, Angelica. She is annoying and pushy, until she starts to do it for him. Or is it the cocktail of the killer with her that is the right mix?
I am beyond impressed with this woman’s ability to write the mind of a psychopath. Admittedly, this was an audiobook. And admittedly, the man who did the voice of the killer was excellent. But, I believe I would have stayed up nights to finish it had I had it in print form. Twisted minds like Val’s are a rare commodity. I will be reading more of her stuff!