First of all, let me say thank you to all of you who took the time to read and respond to my post last week. It was hard to stay away and not respond to each of you in some manner, but I had said that I would sit back and simply watch what happened. I really did want to see if this was a good, bad, or just a so-so idea. I was more than gratified to see that it might be a good idea after all.
As you can see, I changed the Home page and got rid of the sidebar I had up here. I will list the discussions on that sidebar space after initiating them here and leaving them up for the week. That will give you plenty of time to respond as much, or as often, as you like to any one topic.
As far as topics go, I will introduce them here, on the home page, and then the rest is up to you. If you don’t like the topic, but want to discuss, or simply vent, on some other issue, please feel free to do so, always keeping in mind that this is a public space and may be read by many.
This is a whole new role for me, so if I do something that anyone objects to, please let me know, kindly of course, lol. I can be just as stubborn and bull-headed as the next person, but given a bit of time, I’ve been known to learn, change my mind, or just plain shut-up. Depends on just how important the issue is to me personally. But then, I would think that most of you are the same.
Paula brought up this week’s topic: Glazed Eyes. We’ve all been there, we have all encountered that reality on some level. We aren’t alone, but it certainly feels very lonely when it happens. It can feel like instant exile, isolation, or that you have just committed the gaffe of the century, and done that in some public place, shame on you.
I’m going to tell you of a personal experience. It happened about a year and a half ago. I had been invited to dinner at my sister’s home. Two couples had been invited as well. I had met these people on other occasions, so they weren’t complete strangers. But, I had not been with them in such a small social grouping ever before. They knew I was their hostess’s sister, recently moved back to the area and not much more than that.
We were seated at the dining room table, enjoying a wonderful dinner, with some easy chatting going on, brief anecdotal stories all pertaining to the same subject. I happened to mention something that had happened when I was in college. Both of the male guests seemed to perk up at the mention of College. I was asked where I attended school and what I had majored in.
Briefly explaining that I had done two majors: one in History, and another in English with a writing concentration, I was surprised at the sudden focused attention on my person by both of the men. It was a bit like I had suddenly become an individual right there in that moment. One of them asked what I do for a living.
I responded by saying I was retired on disability, but had taught for ten years before that. What had I taught? I explained that I had been a free-lance Writing Instructor, teaching in Fine Art Schools and in two of the colleges in the area where I had formerly lived. Had I ever been published as a writer? Yes, in small presses, some major ones, and had also had a monthly column of my own in a local magazine for a couple of years. Had I ever published a book, something they might have read?
Yes, I had a few chapbooks of poetry published, and had gotten some acclaim when one of my poems anchored an anthology that was later nominated for a Grammy Award because it had been turned into a set of audio cassettes, read by well-known actors and actresses. Well, what did I do with my time, now that I was retired?
I spend a lot of my time on my computer, writing. A book, perhaps? No. I run four blogs: two for poetry, two for prose. The gentleman sitting next to me honed in, and asked if I actually got paid for that. I said that I do it because I love doing it. He asked again, if I got paid for any of it. I said, “No, I love to write and it is an immediate outlet for that drive.” He said, “Oh, it’s nothing more than a hobby, then.” Turned his shoulder to me and asked the other gentleman what he thought about last week’s football game.
End of discussion, I stopped existing, as quickly as I had come to light. Neither man spoke to me again through the rest of the evening. I left early. I don’t know for sure, but I think everyone was glad that I did, or at least could breathe more easily.
Granted, this is a bit more than glazed eyes, it was outright rudeness, but Glazed Eyes is simply a title to be explored and discussed. What do you do about it? How does it make you feel? And how do you handle it afterward? Do you write about it? Talk with someone, sit in a corner and lick your wounds?
What did I do about it? Went home and brooded for a bit. Then called a former student, who had become a good friend, and told her what had happened. She let me vent, agreed with some of my feelings, and said it didn’t change anything, most of all me. That it spoke volumes about the man, the entire group, but nothing about my person as an individual. I would still go on writing, and maybe not count on my sister too heavily for my social life? And then we started laughing and swapping one liners. I was okay the next morning and got up, went to my computer and posted to a prompt.
Okay, your turn. Be aware that I have set it up so that you can reply to someone else’s comments, or drop down and simply reply to the topic as a whole. Thanks again, to all of you. And one last idea. What would you think of taking a turn in the hot seat? You choose the topic and present it here, in whatever form you choose, then open it up for discussion. We’ll work out the details, but I’d like to occasionally just be part of the group.