Translate; in memory of Bill Manville (W.H. Manville) who died Valentine’s 2017

Translate my pain into inspiration.
A grief that turns my heart to sterling,
A metal that will not leave me stranded,
A mourning that imbeds a jasper arrowhead.
He has gone, looping his words between
His memory and mine. Remaining.
Older brother of soul, teacher of order,
He had taken Valentines, paper cutouts,
Red hearts and Pink silliness,
Dark visions combating the light.
Wrapped them in cushions of unsweetened
Advice, given freely, powerful in their
Scent of citrus, their odor of sage.
Wholesome and forgiving. He listened.
Silence now that his breathing
Has erred on the side of quiet.
His heart filled with the love
A teacher has for student.
Transient as they grow, but his eternal.
I must write to find my heart again
Where I laid it out for him.
How many, many types of love there are.
So many ways taking the crystal bonds,
Which when broken remain
In our memory of precious laughter,
Honest criticism, layers upon layers of
Rebuilding. He gave these seeds to us
To plant in our inner gardens, to bloom.
Watered by tears of grief, blinked,
They will grow. Tiny green hopes, words,
Writer to writer. Clearing weeds
Nourishing plots of future dreams.
I hear his voice in the wind
Teasing me, scolding me, holding me close.
Calling me to finish what I had begun,
To love those he loved, to work, to stand
On two feet knowing he believed in us.
We must carry his gift to us,
The world’s visions, the expected literacy.
Must share our voices, must care, we must,
Even when the caring scares and scars us.
His footprints stay with us, his books,
His stories, his belief that the world
Must read, write, share and pass
The compassion of an old friend to a new.
We carry him now, heart to heart.
We will honor him by our words, soon.
But written as the storms come,
Rain beating the earth in a primal flood
As he flows away from us, following the flood
Of our sorrow. The transportation of our hearts,
Flooded and sitting now filled with salty tears.
Our memories are precious, sketch in words,
Written as the tears streak, but forming
Wary wry smiles, smiles that will not betray.
Oh the memory of those smiles, he loved us.
I will carry him with me in my pocket of life.
Filled with random pebbles, coins, a leaf,
An acorn or two, a magic ring, a fallen star.
This hole of sorrow, this well of loss,
Fill it with swords, shields, puppies
Pictures, mystery, letters, trials,
Hopes and dreams. Do not forget…
You see, I loved him.
I loved him as brother, father, friend,
Mentor, teacher, and confidant.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/translate/

Bill Manville, of Sacramento, California died on Valentine’s Day 2017. He was a published author, a teacher, a traveler, radio host, copywriter, U.S. Army Veteran and dearly loved by Beverly. He ran a class on the internet called Writing to be Published. He was a well loved member of AA.

Volunteering at his local library, he ran a class on writing that was open to the public. He understood the need, the urge, to write and that writers need support at all levels of their ability. Being a gruff, loving, inspiring man, he passed the gift of what he had learned to others with an open heart. Whether the class succeeded of not, he urged them on. Revising, placing students in groups to evaluate each other, support each other, he gave us a rare gift of insight into ourselves.

He worked tirelessly in the pursuit of helping others escape the madness of addiction, remaining anonymous except for his first name. If a song represented his attitude towards others it might have been this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjhCEhWiKXk also know as Bruno Mars “Just the Way You Are” He accepted people as they are. Truly a testament for human to be remembered as, Bill was “amazing” just the way he was. Of course you would have to change to words from girl to guy. Volunteering as a rehab clinic volunteer, he understood that by helping others he would help himself remain successful as a long-term sober recovering addict.

Celebrated as a Book of the Month author, he also worked as an editor for Cosmo, contributed columns to the Village Voice, Key West Solares Hill, The New York Daily Times and the Huffington Post. Magazine articles appear in The Fix, Cavalier Magazine, the Saturday Evening Post. He published his books through MacMillan Publishers, Duel, Sloan and Pearce, Simon and Schuster,  NAL, Delacorte, Dell/Random House, BSForge Press and Tor Publishing. His works include: Cool Hip and Sober, Goodbye, Saloon Society, The Man who Left his Wife and Had a Nifty Time, Writing to Be Published, and Breaking up. He was a contributor to the fourth edition of the Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism (commonly called The Big Book at meetings.)

Bill also hosted a radio show, Addictions and Answers on KVML in Sonoma CA, which delved into real stories of the struggles faced by others dealing with alcohol addiction. With over forty years of research into the material he had available to him, he was able to paint a realistic picture of the process of becoming sober, something that was both a personal and social matter of importance. He believed in the process of sobering up as a lifelong purpose. One of the transcripts of a show he hosted with Dr. Dave More is available through the NYDailyNews.com, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/parents-cope-moms-dads-turn-kids-ambien-adderall-day-article-1.1092155.

He attended the University of Pennsylvania, but graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. His next stop was the University of the Mediterranean, Nice where he explored life in all of its fullness and color. As his works were being published, he was encouraged to begin teaching. So he did. He was a member of LinkedIn where he looked for aspiring authors to take his online course.

No one can summarize the character, love, production and history on a single page and with such short notice. I have done the best I can. So a final toast: To all who aspire to sobriety or writing, we have loved him, learned from him, and will never regret that opportunity he shared with us.

 

Bad Me! An Apology for being Rude

I used the F word on another WordPress account. There is no excuse, I lost my temper. You see, I assume things about people: that they are logical, have a grasp of life, have been in the world for a bit. I should know better. I tend to become attached to people, to care what they think. Like I say, I assume.

I couldn’t be more wrong. The column is written by someone who also has MS. He’s a blogger and a blog linker. He keeps one foot in the golfing door. I assume he has money. He never talks about needing anything, although most of us with MS do have needs. Most of us won’t admit that publicly.

So, why did I use the F word? Because with no knowledge of what young adults go through, he dismissed them all as whiny little babies that should take their ball and go home. He mocked them as participation trophy winners who had better understand that life was about more than participation and they should get on with their lives. Yup, that was the trigger. Protesting against what happened in the election, the issues that they are terrified of, the using our Bill of Rights, our millennials are involved and passionate about their issues. I care about that. It’s part of being a Patriot.

I could give him the short list of my background, but I’m not sure he wants that conversation. So rather than try to be glorified by me, let me stick to the young ones and why I care about them.

When something happens in someone’s life, it could be death, illness, a lack of the basics for survival, you act on what you believe. You act on what you have learned. You act on the compassion you have learned. You act on hard, cold facts that stare at you in your cup of coffee. The people who helped you learn and grow believe that you can face anything together. They watch from the sidelines after their influence time has waned, and they care. My students rallied around me when the MS hit, making sure I had contact with their worlds still. I care about them, all of them. I even care about the one student I could never win over to being a participant. They have many years to grow in yet.

Teachers get nine months with your children. We make mistakes, but we believe in your young people and we never forget them. We watch them learn  honesty, learn to donate time to important issues, to protect their brothers and sisters in humanity, to take on issues head first, to fall down, to get back up but to always participate. We love our students. Some teachers showing it through gentle lessons, some teachers by being brutal, but honest,  teaching that facing an issue is just the beginning.

I did all the volunteer things as a mom and teacher. Daisy Scouts and Brownies for my daughter, Tiger, Cub, and Boy Scouts for my son. I did Grad night for three years, before the serious onset of my MS. I held after school clubs that  were varied and based on population needs. Let’s see: a Magic the Gathering Club in three different schools, Yearbook, Literary magazine, Shakespeare club, Theater, a pre-finals Finger Nail polishing/snack eating study relaxation club for women in high school who were test phobic, a Belly Dance Club, a gardening club. I volunteered at Leesylvania State Park, charging nothing for my time, but reading to preschoolers, working for the Breast Cancer Walk, providing raffle gifts of framed photography, teaching painting on driftwood, cleaning the Visitor Center, joined Friends of Leesylvania to help where help was needed, was on the crew to work for CAST (for children who were taken fishing by a “Captain” on a one to one relationship), decorated for park functions, played in the Haunted History Hike opposite a 15 year old “husband” from the Fairfax family (creepy in a way), taught embroidery and cross stitching, taught a geography club, a stamp club, created a school post office and taught kids to run it. I did a lot more. Why? Because that participation trophy helped everyone. I got to meet and work with some great kids, great young adults who were taking their place in the world. I believe in our Millennials. That’s why I got angry.

I hold people who have gone through difficulties to a high standard of emotional intelligence. This man stated that he didn’t care enough about the election to vote for a difference. That’s cool. I didn’t vote for Trump or Johnson, thinking instead that issues were more important than flailing away at the dark. I understand where the young are coming from, as I am a child of the 60s. Human rights have been on my target for 55 of my almost 59 years. My parents made sure that I understood the difference between right and wrong, helping and hurting, motivation and laziness. They never gave false praise and if you did get some, there was always a caveat on the fact you could still do better. You can ask my mother if you like. She reads my writing now too.

We learned to share. When a Cambodian family came to the US and the father started working at Bachman’s Nursery, my family gave them clothing, toys, a grocery bag of food, furniture which my parents reupholstered to look brand new, and friendship. There was a Lesbian couple that my parents advocated for, believing that the right to be who you are should never be a matter of debate. There was a community center where my parents volunteered and helped make a success. We did paper drives, shoveled snow for our elders, mowed lawns and raked leaves, started gardens with our neighbors, and always, participation was a requirement to be part of society.

I learned to protest unfairnesses in Middle School and was an odd duck then and now in believing in our society. I believe that our reaction to the world, and those who have less than we, is how we show our greatness. I went to a Catholic college although I am not a Catholic. The sisters were Benedictines and at the end of the robes and coif. They were participants in everything in life. Competent women, with scary energy, they taught us by example. The Benedictine rule says to treat each man (person) as if they were Christ himself at your door, to open and allow the hospitality of a heart to go forward by helping another. See, Sisters, I did listen. So that is what I do. I’m not a Christian, that part didn’t stick, but I got all of the really important parts. That’s what makes me angry about this person’s blog.

He had no interest in doing something for others. He sat back and attacked those very children that I believe in with no background, no investigation, and was smug about it. He was more worried that I had sworn on his page ONCE, than he was concerned about the young of this country, who by the way, will run his retirement home and future medical care. He was lazy in approaching the matter of the right to be involved. He was lazy in throwing out a point of view without researching it, and he was lazy disregarding any point of view but his own. He offended me. I lost my temper. I swore and demanded that he was better than what he had written. At that point, I offended him and lost all pretense of being able to be fair and impartial, able to discuss and listen, and I was wrong.

I have a new friend who says if you go into a conversation with your mouth hanging open, you won’t learn anything. It took him an hour to condense his comments to that line. He’s a wise man. He thought before he spoke, synthesized what I said into what he understood, checked his clarity before he responded, and then he did respond. I should have acted more like that. I didn’t. I am a passionate woman about a lot of things. Sometimes I let that passion out to play and it doesn’t always play nicely with others. I’ll work on that. In the meantime, be aware that those young people (under 50) who are participating in the world right now are under my protection. I may not be much protection, but I’m there in the wings waiting to see if they need me. I’ll work on that think before I speak thing, I’m usually pretty quiet, but it will take time.

I guess that I believe in progress forward, a planet we can live on, policies that do not injure, and that we had better start participating before we blow each other up, again. So, Mr. Columnist, whom I shall not name, but will send this link to, you are right. I did blow up and hold you to my standard, not understanding what yours it, and yes, I did use one word that I should never have used. There is no excuse for my words that were written in hot white heat. I judged you. I annoyed you. I went over the top. Passion is no excuse for bad manners. So I apologize to you. I hope you will understand that you touched a nerve within my soul, but please understand that that was no reason for me reacting like I did.

Ann White