Dita Parker

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen—and kissed me there.

(Walter de la Mare, 1913)

Happy holidays, sweetie darlings, and a smooch on top,


Friday, December 13, 2013

Running in the family

My aunt contacted me. She said she'd found something among my paternal grandmother's belongings I'd want to see. That my aunt had unearthed whatever it was I knew nothing about didn't surprise me. Geography and the uneasy rapport my mother had with her in-laws in general and her mother-in-law in particular resulted in my never being close to my father's side of the family as a child, a gap we've done our best to bridge in my adulthood.

My paternal grandmother was a complex woman who'd lived through happy and hard times alike. She was immensely grateful for all the good in her life but forgiveness was not her first impulse. In good and bad, her memory was infallible. She would recite lengthy poems, and often did on someone's special occasion, and when she spoke you got the impression she'd thoroughly thought through what she wanted to say before she uttered a single syllable. And you got the impression you weren't hearing the half of it.

What my aunt sent me only cemented that impression. My grandmother knew I wrote. I never knew so did she. Pages upon pages upon pages of thoroughly thought out lines I never knew existed. And here I thought that I was the black sheep, right-handed with some of the athletic and artistic inclinations running in both sides of the family but someone who'd rather be writing.

I don't know why she chose not to tell me. Was writing just a pastime? A private passion? A shattered or buried dream, just one of the things countless women of her generation couldn't cultivate because it simply wasn't an option, profession-wise? Where did all those lines come from? What was she thinking and how did she feel and did she have someone to share those words with, a reader, another writer? 

I stare at those pages and she's with me, breathing in every word. And then I lose her all over again. We'll never talk about this. I'll never get to ask all I badly want to ask and it makes me sad and it makes me angry and it makes me ashamed of myself because it's a selfish, childish wish. If she'd wanted to share she could have. It also gives me solace and satisfaction of the mischievous kind to think that maybe this was too important, too personal to share. My writing life was mine and mine alone. And hers was obviously none of my business. That is so true to character my first impulse is to forgive even when my gut reaction is anger and a vague sense of disappointment and regret. We had this in common and we never got to share it. And that's how she wanted it.

I hope she found what she was looking for when she sat down to write. I hope she dreamed and soared and reveled, lost in those innermost thoughts, that inner life that was hers and hers alone, that immovable, unshakable core we all possess. It's beautiful and it's powerful and I've witnessed people pull through the most awful of events and circumstances without losing their minds, hope, integrity or dignity because they never lost touch with it even if it seemed they'd lost everything else. Promise me you'll cherish and nurture yours, whether you're sharing it with all of humanity or never telling a soul, whether you call it soul, heart, spirit, grit... Whatever you call it, you know what I'm talking about. So promise me. Promise.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Something's gotten hold of my heart

'Tis the season, sweetie darlings, wedding anniversary season, a season that makes an insufferable lovey-dovey-shiny-happy-want-to-throw-my-arms-around-the-world girl out of me, a girl brimming with love; romantic, platonic, filial, maternal, sisterly...you name it, I'm feeling it, dearest dearest denizens. So I decided to celebrate this many-splendored thing with thoughts on the subject ranging across time and continents. Just because. Because love! So what's your favorite?

Before I met my husband, I'd never fallen in love. I'd stepped in it a few times. 
~ Rita Rudner

We choose those we like; with those we love, we have no say in the matter. 
~ Mignon McLaughlin

The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of. 
~ Blaise Pascal

The eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love. 
~ Margaret Atwood

Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses.

~ Lao Tzu

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
~ Victor Hugo

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
~ Bertrand Russell

We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.
~ W. Somerset Maugham

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
~ Dr. Seuss

A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself - and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is.
~ Jim Morrison

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

~ William Shakespeare

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

~ Pablo Neruda

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. 
~ Zora Neale Hurston

Love withers under constraints: its very essence is liberty: it is compatible neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited where its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. 
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Stand by me.
~ Ben E. King

I'll stand by you.
~ The Pretenders