Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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One of my favorite authors of all time is Dorothy Parker who lived from 1893-1967. Her career included writing poetry, journalism, drama criticism, and screen writing. She is best known for her wit and satire. As a public figure she was both well-loved and controversial. Her political statements got her listed on the Hollywood black list during the witch hunt for communists. When she died she bequeathed her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her stance on civil rights was progressive long before it was socially accepted. I admire her for the way she used humor.
The Queen of Swords in tarot is a symbol of independent thought and judgement. She is professional, perceptive, analytical and sharp witted. She beckons to the future and is looking at it in the card, but we can’t see what she sees. Her intellect is mature and her discernment and ability to judge impartially make her a royal. She does not beat around the bush, but comes directly to the point without emotional investments. She uses logic and facts to make good decisions. When this card turns up reversed in a reading the shadow elements of the archetype are indicated. When she is upside down it means her normally clear vision is being clouded by emotions. Rather than clear and precise independent thought, she is influenced to preserve status quo in relationships. Her goals are compromised by fear of what others think. Dorothy Parker had a lot of tragedy and failed relationships in her life. She played both sides of the Queen of Swords, famously doing quite a bit of drinking. Like her buddies Hemingway and Fitzgerald she spent a great deal of time in bars. She suffered from alcoholism which consumed her last years. Her work endures.
Here are some of my favorite quotes attributed to this sharp and sassy sword queen:
“That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.”
“A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.”
“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”
“I think that the direction in which a writer should look is around.”
I have told a few people in the last week that I am a poet. I believe I am trying it out to see if I like the title because I don’t think of myself as a poet. First I explained to my fiduciary who handles my investments and gives me advice for retirement that my most important interest at the moment is poetry. He knows, since we do split the money he makes in the market, that I am interested in his best performance with little or no chit-chat. He has incentive to do that since his own profit is tied directly to mine. He is not a stock broker, but has a fiduciary responsibility to me for which I pay him a percentage of the profits. I switched to this arrangement before the last presidential election because it all felt too volatile and risky. Since he has done a bang up job I feel secure to trust his future work on my (our) behalf. My debt free, secure financial position is one reason I can dabble with being a poet. I have arrived at a time in my life during which I can reflect and use my talents in any way I choose. Now that I have told the fiduciary I am a poet he is convinced I will not be producing any more income during my lifetime. I am fine with that because it puts the pressure on him to make sure I never become a staving artist.
Last night I told a friend I have known for many years who came over for a drink and conversation. He is visiting from out-of-town, so we had news about our lives to share since our last reunion. After he left I was kind of surprised that I had told him about the poetry writing at all, let alone describe myself to him as a poet. I did make it clear that although I publish it daily I am not promoting it per se because it is not very well-developed. I am not ashamed of it, but I have no pride in it either. It is a practice and a new persona. I told him I admire and want to emulate Dorothy Parker. He recited a couple of her witty lines. I am not sure how sincere he was, but he told me that I am like Dorothy Parker. We were laughing and joking together all evening, so this was part of the fun. In retrospect I am giddy about being compared to her, and this little exchange has given me new hope about my poetic prospects. With some work I do believe I can be witty, satirical, and poetic all at the same time. I have loaded up two books by Dorothy into my Kindle and pre-ordered another about her life, Dorothy Parker Drank Here, by Ellen Meister. Now I am carrying with me two poetic muses, both ghosts. Henry Howard represents Tudor England and Mrs. Parker post WWII New York City. That should cover everything.
It is in the spirit of Mrs. Parker that I am working on curses and blessings suitable for twitter. They must be short and pithy. I am calling them #Twurses and #Twessings. Join me if you like. I think there is a market. It is a bit of haiku in 130 characters, ideal length. I think rhyming makes it memorable. #Twurse the snow and howling wind, Super Bowl parties must begin. I am sure I can warm up and do better than that. Thanks to all the #ROW80 writers who have taught me to have a good time and just do it, as they say at Nike.