A Piece Full World

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Knocking at doors. Peeling back onion skin.

Understanding workplace violence, bullying and harassment. Who commits it.  Why?  Who allows it?  Why do they allow it...?

Anthony Doerr, author of "All the Light We Cannot See" writes of being life's observer. He observes someone and then creates his story. It's like the proverbial onion's skin peeled back, but, it's also more.  It's "knocking at doors" of people's histories to create stories.  It's inventing and surmising.  It's developing fictional characters' relationships.  Siblings and spouses.  Parents.  Ah, yes. Parents.  Or the longing for; siblings, spouses or parents.  It's birth and death.  Illness.  It's triumphs and failures.  

For instance, Doerr, in an interview, speaks of seeing a woman in a formal dress climbing into a New York City cab.  Just seeing that launches him into his story about her. In his mind, Doerr might create a rainy afternoon. He may imagine her frustration--after hours of preparation--to have mud splatter her dress! She attempts to shield her perfect makeup while teetering on her heels. She'd not expected rain!

Or maybe the sun is shining and everything is perfect.  Maybe she'll meet her future husband today.  

I doubt, though, that Doerr will allow such a tranquil life.

Ours is a world full of writing riches. Like Anthony Doerr, I "knock on lives' doors". I stand as a witness to the stories I create. Stories of disappointment.  Challenge.  Fortitude and resilience.  


A pregnant woman.  Young.  My story for her:  Her first child.  Her husband at the birth.  Their excitement.  Then horror for their first is a Down's Syndrome baby girl.

Years later they cannot imagine joy without her.  

I might follow that story back and back and back.  Or move into the girl's future.  Each observation brings with it endless possibility.  


An elderly woman's frown as she awaits her grandson. She's set out cookies and milk for him. She's annoyed with herself.  She wants only to be patient, patient, patient with her beloved boy and she's not.  There's laundry to fold.

That child's wondrous smile in spite of his mother's irritation at his gawking at an ant pile.  He's fascinated with the ants' scurrying.  Why, they line up!  They help each other carry things!  

"Come along, Jonathan! Grandma is expecting us!" Reluctantly he turns to his mother.  She's waiting to secure him in his car seat. 

Years later he will contemplate this as a clear and perfect moment.  He loves these two women--his grandma now long dead and his mother still living on her own in the house where the ant bed launched his career.  He's relatively happy.  Twice divorced. He knows, though, that he uses his work as a distraction to his sadness.

Other observations: a stroke victim. My story. He's recuperating at home.  He's In the bathroom.  Alone. He regards his contorted face reflected in the bathroom mirror for remnants of his former glory.  On high school football fields.  In business conference rooms.  His a booming voice.  He feels again the envy and awe of his underlings.  Oh his was a life of travel!  Occasional dalliances with girls.  He never referred to them as prostitutes.  He was discreet.  A phone call.  A tap on a hotel door.  

In spite of his discretion, he's certain his stalwart wife knew.  She never said a thing.

His eyes water.  

"George!  Are you okay in there?"
And this:

He leers. "This is where I got my first kiss."  He wants to control.  This is his way.  Oh, he finds this older woman attractive, but his attraction to her is his need to dominate her. He senses that it will not be easy.  He likes that.

He is almost pretty.  Long lashes.  Thick trimmed brows.  Just a slight stubble.  And his hair!  Oh, his hair is his pride.  It's still thick at fifty.  He likes the gray at his temples.  The gray, he thinks, makes him "sexy". And now reading glasses.  How he loves his hair and his glasses.  He likes sitting at his desk, calling her to his office.  He likes peering over his glasses at her primly and nervously seated on the edge of a chair in front of him.  "I am concerned about your work," he'll say.  Inside he will smirk and sneer for he is a smirker and a sneerer. 

He's also bored.  Even he knows that when he's bored, he's more dangerous. And she is dead center on his bored radar. 
10:20 am est          Comments

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Kim Werner's diary...

 Last year. On medical leave again.  Diagnosed with PTSD by a therapist. Found that wonderful therapist from having reached out to my school district's EAP director. Something had happened at my child's school.  I again needed help. I really needed help.

 A flick of a finger.  Ping.  And I was once again in the PTSD abyss...
09/09/16: "Friday.  I am going back to work.  In two weeks, I return.  I believe it's for the best.  I will ONLY DO AS DIRECTED.  No special projects generated by me! Just what I am told to do.

Why am I returning?  Because it feels right for me.  I am bored here.  And why not give it a go? I am good at it!  I must, however, protect myself.  I MUST.

I will take one/each day at a time.  One day at work.  At a time.  And if it doesn't suit me--if it feels like way too much, then I will retire.


It's the correct diagnosis for me.  I believe my work with Dr.  (therapist's name) is important.  My sense of overall safety--my worldview--has been damaged.

So....what to do?  Well, first recognize it.  And it is true.  I see where people may become agoraphobic.  That just leaving the house feels dangerous!  

But....the birds.  Family.  Last night all of us at home.  Precious.  

But...the soft and silky fur of this cat...

Will you, Kim, let it (PTSD) control you?  What happened to you, Kim?  Like "insecure kudzu" wrapping all around you.  Distrust. Suspicion.  Insomnia.  High blood pressure....and for what?

How do I remain secure?


Eight months later.

I love the quiet.  The usual.  I love a sense of fulfillment and of possibility.  I just re-read entries from last year.  "The year of going crazy..."

Ah.  It's a lying, cheating world.  

Do I prefer to be treated with respect by a tax evading criminal...or be ogled lasciviously by a school principal?

Maybe we humans simply cannot help our natures. 

My nature: Right now I'm holding onto resentment.  I was wronged.  But does that merit this growing feeling of disconnect? Righteousness...?

Decision time....


June 7, 2017.  I had a really good year. Glad I stayed.
9:23 am est          Comments

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Authenticity. Women and the men they love...


She is awakening. Inside of her is a stirring.  She reads words and she feels them.  These are not just words for her.  They are experiences.

She reads. She loves to read.  This time "The Stone Diaries." A character in the book, Mrs. Flett. "If you're willing, Mother," as Mr. Flett mounts Mrs. Flett again. As his hand again crawls up Mrs. Flett's night dress. 

She and Mrs. Flett could sit over tea and commiserate.

"Read it and weep!" And she does. She innerly weeps. No one knows really. No one sees. She is in her laundry room. Folding clothes. Now in a grocery aisle.  Planning dinners and breakfasts for "her men." Two sons and a husband.

It is her nature to sacrifice for others.  But this is too much. Too much to feel these waves of longing smack her. Mock her really. She is almost sixty.  Married thirty five years.  She'd thought that on that first day of these thirty five years, her bliss had been found. There she stood in her simple white dress.  There in that church she heard him say the words of her girlhood dreams. "From this day forward.  Till death do us part."  She'd thought that this man saying these things to her was all that she would ever need.

She was beautiful that day.  So pretty.  "Luminescent" it was said of her at her wedding.  Her belly without the birthing stretch marks that were to come. Her breasts not yet sagging from nursing her boys.  Her waist cinched tightly by the simple bodice.  

The only imperfection: her feet ensconced in the perfect white high heels. "Why did I choose those?" she now wonders.  "Blisters and wedding days..."

She did not know then that "to have and to hold" meant her nightly resignation at the bedroom door's creak.  "You awake?" as he climbs in.  "No!" she wants to scream.  "I am not awake. I am asleep and I do not wish to do this again tonight.  I am tired.  I have worked all day folding your laundry and cooking your dinner.  I do not wish for your hands to be on my breasts and between my legs. This is my time to read.  This is my time to dream.  This is my time."

But instead: "Yes.  I am awake."


"It's not their fault," in her mind over and over as she listlessly pushes a grocery store cart. As she regards family sized frozen meals.  She resists the torpidity.  Her lackluster cooking efforts are not their fault either.  Neither is her disinterest in all things domestic.  And so she will wrap hotdogs in crescent rolls.  Bake tater tots. Call it dinner.  

Perhaps she will assuage her guilt by slicing strawberries or apples as a side.

A sigh in the laundry room.  A pause. A worn T-shirt in her hand now used as a dust rag. Bob the Builder. A fleeting thought of her youngest at three.  A smile.  She so loves that boy.  

She stands still.  In the laundry room with her fifteen year old son's old T-shirt is her hand, she realizes that she can stop waiting.  She doesn't have to wait.  That she simply cannot wait any longer. She is no longer willing to wait.

Mrs. Flett at the clothes line as she contemplates retiring for the evening. "I am not willing, [Mr. Fletts]," she will say.  "I am no longer willing."

Her. "Me either, Mrs. Flett.  I am no longer willing."

 "Let's have tea and talk about it."
10:32 am est          Comments

Saturday, November 4, 2017

An American Horror Story. My introduction.

 A one minute You Tube video: A man's naked buttocks and back.  He's on top of a woman. The music pounds into me as he pounds into her.  

Two women.  One with her head buried between the other's legs. Cunnilingus. The receiving woman languidly looks at me watching. She smiles.  

A different girl shoves the barrel of a gun into her mouth. She pulls the trigger.  Blood and brain hit the wall behind her.

Another gun to the temple of a man.  Another trigger pulled.  Blood and brain hitting a another wall.

All this in the one minute.  But that minute has stayed with me. I am not accustomed to such glamorization of suicide and murder.  Nor to such harsh depiction of orgasm. 

According to my high school senior friend, this is what she and her friends routinely watch.  Seven seasons.  All since she and her friends were eleven.  

This is our American Horror Story.

My American Horror Story:

Well, okay.  I am horrified.  I begin to understand that weed smoking seems tame and sane in this lurid world.  I picture youth lighting up joints and turning on screens. Turning to and away from American Horror Story's violence at the same time. They turn on any device any where and watch this degradation of humanity.

Youth use marijuana as their collective shield.  They watch American Horror Story violence in a fog.  Maybe that's the only way to get through that stark hell, for surely these high school seniors are people of some morality. 

"Good God", I say to myself.  "Who am I to judge marijuana in this age of Lil Bump and Post Malone?"  

I am a middle school counselor. I asked my students for an attention grabbing song glamorizing drugs for our Red Ribbon Week's drug prevention introduction. Three academically outstanding boys said "Rock Star, Ms. Werner.  You gotta go with Rock Star."

Here are some of Post Malone's unedited "Rock Star" lyrics:

"Ayy, I've been fuckin' hoes and poppin' pillies
Man, I feel just like a rockstar (star)
Ayy, ayy, all my brothers got that gas
And they always be smokin' like a Rasta
Fuckin' with me, call up on a Uzi
And show up, man them the shottas
When my homies pull up on your block
They make that thing go grrra-ta-ta-ta (pow, pow, pow)
Ayy, ayy, switch my whip, came back in black
I'm startin' sayin', "Rest in peace to Bon Scott"
Ayy, close that door, we blowin' smoke
She ask me light a fire like I'm Morrison
Ayy, act a fool on stage
Prolly leave my fuckin' show in a cop car
Ayy, shit was legendary
Threw a TV out the window of the Montage
Cocaine on the table, liquor pourin', don't give a damn..."

 My high school senior friend writes of marketing.  Specifically the marketing of marijuana.  And yeah, Post Malone and American Horror Story market weed.  But they market a whole lot more than weed.  They market drug, gun and sexual violence. Rape. They market disrespect.  They market misogyny. They market all day and all night.  During the school day and at 3AM, my high school senior friend can view and listen to anything she wants. And she does. 

She and her friends watch American Horror Story.
8:43 am edt          Comments

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