Posts Tagged ‘Memoir’

My Dear Readers,

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have faithfully visited this site so many times and sent me kind and thoughtful messages. I have been involved with many other things lately and my computer is about to crash, so I am not sure when I will be able to write posts for you again. But I wish all of you peace and grace and the beauty of nature this springtime and always.

Shalom,

Olive Twist

~♥~

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My brother disappeared from my life very early because he was adopted by my grandfather, so I have very few memories of him as a young boy. But sometimes while I eat my morning corn flakes, I imagine him sitting across the table studying his cereal box with a serious adult expression, penciling a line through the maze or cutting out an order form for the Goofy Grape Kool-Aid cup. He was always the scientist and the wise guy, no matter how ridiculous he appeared at the time.

I can see him now with his little felt cowboy hat and the red string under his chin pulled tight with a brown bead. His skin was the color of oatmeal and small freckles dotted his nose and cheeks. His brown hair was always just a bit too short and his cowlick looked like a paintbrush stroke over his right eyebrow. He tied a red bandana around his neck and chased me around firing his silver cap gun because he knew I despised loud noises.

He chewed Bazooka bubble gum and once in awhile gave me a piece, as long as I gave him back the comic because he was collecting them along with Cracker Jack prizes. My brother watched Batman in the evenings and savored superhero comics. His favorite character was Penguin, the aristocratic crook with flashy clothes.

My brother kept boxes full of creepy comic books like “Tales from the Crypt” and whenever I sneaked into his room and opened one of them, it didn’t take long for me to run back to my own room with my friendly Disney toys. (Of course I abused them when I was mad at my brother and wanted someone smaller to kick around.)

On Saturday’s we watched Rocky and Bullwinkle and Underdog and the Wacky Races. I imagined that I was Penelope Pitstop and my brother was Dick Dastardly, especially when he would say “Drat, drat, double drat.” In Underdog he was Sinister Simon. Of course I was Polly, but Underdog never showed up to rescue me.

I worked hard at school to get good grades, but my brother always came home with perfect report cards, straight A’s to be exact. Jealous and confused, I often wondered if you had to be wicked to be smart. That seemed to be the formula for the cartoon villains he admired, so I resigned to the fact that I could never be that smart.

I remember when he got his first job as a paperboy. I can still see him at the table, putting the rolled up newspapers into his canvas bag, and strolling out to jump onto his red bike and riding away. I felt jealous of him at times like these, and even more so when he returned and sat at the table, counting his coins in little round columns and then putting them into his cigar box. He was the only one with money, and sometimes he would walk with me and our little sister to Burger King. We would wear our cardboard crowns as we drank Orange Crush and ate cheeseburgers with mustard and no pickles and plenty of French fries.

But mostly my brother loved to terrify me, his stormy little sister who was already scared of everything. I was the perfect victim for his wicked games unlike my quiet fearless little sister, and he knew this too well. He would chew the warts on his fingers until they bled, light candles and pass his hands through the flame, set off noisy firecrackers- and he told horrific ghost stories. I always asked him to tuck me in to bed since our parents were away, but instead he told me frightful tales he heard over the campfire during Cub Scouts. Blue-eyed Bloody Bones was his favorite, and I would cry when he would wail with a quivery voice “Blue-eyed bloody bones gonna eat you up.” I would scream and beg him to stop and he would laugh and laugh.

His laughter was always odd, because it seemed to emerge from a frown instead of a smile like most people. The sound of his laugh was smooth and gentle, but his top lip would curl back over his small teeth, and the lower lip would contort like the lips of Gumby as if they weren’t sure what to do. His left eye would narrow and his right eye would roll upward like a milky glass marble towards his forehead. I never could figure out if he felt happy or sad, because his face never really told the story.

On Sundays, I would awaken to the sound of the TV in the living room. I would find my brother sitting in his footy pajamas on the cold wooden floor with his cereal bowl and spoon, watching the Lone Ranger or the singing cowboy. I could sense his loneliness at moments like these, because no one seemed to fit into his world. No Tonto or Silver or fair damsels. Only his mask.

Amid all of the confusion of our childhood, I think he discovered his super powers but lost his identity. I am still looking for his face behind the disguises.

It was hard for him trying to be a man at the age of ten in a house with no parents. I don’t know how he endured the pressure at such a young age. I couldn’t see it then, but I can see it now. He wanted to protect me, but he was trying to enjoy being a kid too. It was a terrible juggling act and I think he felt inadequate for the task.

Although I missed him when he left and never got to know him after he came of age, I am pleased that my grandfather offered him a secure world where he could relax and play for awhile.

Film poster for The Legend of the Lone Ranger

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For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  Hosea 6:6

Red red wineHe sat across the table from me, eyes damp and swollen.  I could smell the soft scent of cologne and red wine as my father studied my face sorrowfully.

He pointed towards the room upstairs where my son was seated and said, “He would not exist if I had not done this awful thing to you. He was a gift sent to help you because of what I have done. He is pure gold. He loves you so much, and you love him, and that is such a blessing for both of you.  As for me, I have been punished because when I finally found my true love, we could not have any children.  That is how I was repaid for what I did to you.”  I closed my eyes and could not find any words for reply; I knew that my father needed this moment even more than I did.

When he had finished speaking, he hugged and kissed me and I climbed the stairs to my little bedroom. My heart was a giant paperweight in my chest. As I pondered his remarks in my bed, it seemed strange to me that an atheist would speak of a higher power and divine justice. Yet I am not interested in judgment. Only one matter is important now: to humbly participate in this redemptive work with an open and forgiving heart.

~♥~

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I am feeling a peculiar mixture of emotions as I prepare to depart for Spain-  happy and overwhelmed and apprehensive to name a few of them.

I feel like Bilbo Baggins after Gandalf and the unexpected party showed up at his door and summoned him for an adventure. There is a part of me that would just as soon stay safe and snug in my hobbit hole, and let brave-hearted folks go to faraway lands to meet a dark mysterious stranger (who just happens to be my father- there’s the rub).

It has dawned on me that I really don’t know my father…but I want to so much.  Please keep praying for me that I will “go out with joy and be led forth with peace.”

“Sister Olive”

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i remember you defending me when people didn’t understand me, i remember recording your singing and drawing you art and you treating them like they were special, i remember you showing up to school trying to keep me from being bullied. i remember going to lighthouse park and climbing trees while you played tennis, i remember you buying me crystals and crushed pennies on our trips to north carolina.

~♥~

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This sounds like my kind of writer’s group, all right. I am uncomfortable in large group settings, I can’t stand to have my picture taken, and I lack confidence in many ways. I have overcome a few times over the years, like when I decided to acquire my Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.

Blogging has offered another brave new world for me. I often fear that people will not like my voice or my style, but I’m learning to be content with who I am and to be truthful about what I really feel.

As an unconventional spiritual writer, I admire people like Donald Miller and Shane Claiborne who have broken the mold of Christian formula writing and found success. I love writing enough to keep going whether there is a market for my work or not. Writing is my form of worship.

~♥~

Peace and Grace to You,

Olive

Do It Scared.

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, folks, and that means it’s time for a gathering of my friends in the Insecure Writers Support Group. Here we share our fears, our anxieties, our hopes and dreams. If you would like to join, just click here: Insecure Writers Support Group. We”d love to have you!

I did something this past month that terrified me. I submitted my short story, “Damaged,” to Glimmer Train Press. I wrote it, rewrote, cut some, rewrote it, and cut some more, until it was about 756 words (It was an entry for the Very Short Fiction Award, which tops out at 3k, but can be any length shorter).

Then I gave it to a good friend of mine, Bonnie, who will be forever in my debt, to crit for me. She told me what would work even better, and what didn’t work as well.

By the…

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This is a beautiful song written by an old friend of mine named Tim, and I loved it from the first time I heard him sing it at a Christian coffeehouse in Oregon, accompanied by his faithful guitar. He started out by saying “This song is based on the last words of Jesus to His disciples…”  After that, I used to request it again whenever he came, and I learned to sing and play it on my own.  I have played and sung it in quite a few churches since that day:

~♥~

Won’t you tell me, please,

Do you love me more than these,

More than the wealth of things that you possess?

Don’t you realize

You’ve got to open up your eyes?

Listen now, to my last request.

 

(Chorus)

If you love me, feed my sheep,

If you care, feed my lambs,

If you’re my friends,

Take care of my little ones.

 

For their angels are constantly before my father.

Suffer little children to come unto me.

For if you give a cup of water only in my name,

A reward will come unto thee.

(Repeat Chorus)

 

If anyone should cause the least of my disciples

To stumble and to turn his back on me,

It would be better to have a millstone tied around his neck,

And to be cast into the deepest sea.

(Repeat Chorus)

 

So, if you still think that things are so important,

Then you’re blind, just as blind as you can be.

For if you still think that things are so important,

Tell me, where will you spend eternity?

~♥~

By Tim Peters

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