Signs, Signifiers, and Serendipity

Four days ago, the envelope  in which the bound copy of my Master’s thesis arrived in 1987, came back to me along with two drafts of the logo for my then-business card, my parents’ house having sheltered all these years what was important and discarded what was not.  Oddly enough, I remembered those logos only a few weeks ago and sought them out in vain; I hadn’t thought about them in decades.  So serendipitous this resurfacing of those dust-mired signifiers of a writerly destiny.  The thesis, after all, was the last time (until now) that I’d written anything of size and substance, and the logos were for business cards announcing me as a credentialled editor and writer…all those years ago.  Signifiers of my wish to write are returned to me as if to confirm the novel I’ve just published as real–and more than that–rendering that interminable hiatus merely that:  a hiatus which was powerless to change my destiny, a space of time only, which, though seeming long and endless, remained impotent the entire time, ineffectual against the fate which would inevitably find me.  A mere ‘waiting for godot’ with a better ending.

Since the symbolic, rather than consensus reality, organizes my existence and orders my mind, this is the type of event which I recognize more quickly than a ringing doorbell.  When lost in the crannies of my mind, the bell can ring and ring while I summon the connectors between past and present (as now with these signifiers) and declare them valid descriptors of how physical markers of the individual journey circle until they find a new “in” and replace themselves amongst the artifacts of a lived life.  It’s a sort of steam trunk of memorabilia that keeps losing items in transit and then, discovering them somewhere else along the way, stuffs them back in to the trunk to make the memory–and the life-saga–whole again.  Restored to wholeness once again, I might actually hear the doorbell and answer it.  Then, with all signifiers returned and accounted for, I can say, in a state of wholeness and security:  I mean to go on as I’ve begun.  So next time I say “I can’t talk now…I have things to do,”  I don’t always mean the laundry; I mean that I have to think myself back into wholeness…and then finish the laundry and answer the doorbell.

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I’d Rather Play Solitaire and a note about Andrew Wyeth

So the book is in print now.  My battles with the publisher, I will save for another post, another day.  I never thought my first work of fiction would be about horses, about their egregious slaughter…about Quebec.  What’s interesting is that, as I always found in my new age work, there is synchronicity in all.  I find that not only, like me, did “Wild Horse Annie (Velma Johnston)” have polio, but so also did the model for Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”.  I mention the latter because a few people have commented on the “author photo” on the back cover of my book:  they say that it immediately brought to mind Wyeth’s famous painting.  I discovered that Wyeth’s model, like me (again), suffered from polio.  Is there something shared amongst us–me, Velma, and Christina–which makes us particularly sensitive to horse abuse?  I know one thing very well–because I remember it vividly:  the numbness in the legs which polio brings may lead one–especially a youngster–to more fully admire and covet the fleet-footedness of creatures like horses.  It may also embed in us a prey mentality, one which would come from not being able to move, much less flee, from a potential predator.  Such a mentality would, at such a young age, imprint a deep vulnerability which–let’s face it–only very young children and animals experience.  A piercing perception into who and what one is, I’d say.  Early childhood disability marks one just as fully as early childhood trauma, and I had the benefit of learning from horses directly when I was a child, as well, perhaps, as the lesson of what happens when one loses one’s freedom to run (away)…which would explain, in large part, my vagabond life up to three years ago.

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