Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Launching the Future

As we prepare to launch the new year, I am reminded of Marcus Aurelius' words:  "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."  Revisiting the past is only valuable if it gives us hope for the future.  Otherwise, that which is behind us will seek to either entangle us in sentimentality or bind our present and future with bitterness and excuses.
Let us remember the past as lessons learned.  George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  I would add, "Those that linger in the past are condemned to languish with it."  That which is behind us must be made subservient to our plans for the future or our future will be subservient to our past.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Twas the Night Before Christmas in Alabama

‘Twas the evening before Christmas
And through the trailer house
Not a varmint was stirring
Not even a louse

The stocking were stapled to the paneling with care
In hopes that ole Santa would get his tush there

The kids were all sleeping still wearing their clothes
While thoughts of electronics their dreams did compose
And momma in her nightgown and I in my briefs
Had just finished fighting just sorting our beefs

When out in the yard I heard such a racket
I grabbed for my gun off the deer hunting bracket
Away to the window near the old septic tank
I flipped up the shade and turned the big crank

The moon on the glow of my Ford pickup truck
Gave me plenty of light for some sitting duck
When what to wondering eyes did appear
But some crazy old man bringing me some deer

With a short little driver, so quick and so funny
I knew right away ‘tweren’t no Easter bunny
Faster than a Harley his twelve points flew down
And he actually named them, that crazy old clown

“C’mon Dasher!  Move it Dancer!  Now Prancer and Vixen!
Get going Comet, Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen!
Get up on the porch and climb up the wall!
I thought, “What a moron, those deer will all fall!”

But sure as dry leaves blow before a hurricane
They jump in the air when they got to the propane
So up on the tin roof those crazy bucks did fly
With a sleigh full of goods that could come from Best Buy

And then in a moment I heard overhead
The scratching of metal that’ll cost some bread
As I gathered myself and was turning about
Through the vent shaft Santa came tearing up grout

He was wearing a fur, from his foot to his head
I knew that PETA would want this man dead
A bag full of toys, he had hanging on his back
He looked like a bum, or someone on crack

His eyes had that twinkle!  His face was all merry!
His nose was all rosy, and his face was all hairy!
His funny little mouth had this silly lookin’ smile
And his beard needed trimming at least once in a while

The stump of a pipe he clenched tight in his lips
He smelled like my grandma, except now she just dips
He had a big head and a big belly too
That shook when he laughed, I thought he’d lost a screw

He was chubby and plump, a right crazy old coot,
And I laughed so hard, it nearly made me poot
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Made me kind of nervous, but there was nothing to dread

He never said a thing, but got straight into work
He filled all the stockings, I felt like a jerk
And laying his finger right beside his nose
And giving a nod, out the vent shaft he rose!

He got in his sled, to the deer gave a whistle
And off they flew like a rocketed missile
He yelled, “Merry Christmas!” as his image did dim
I guess he was Santa, glad I didn’t shoot him!  --- P. J. Casselman

Friday, December 16, 2011

Anticipation of Christmas

The baby’s in the manger
Lights upon the tree
Cookies placed for Santa
We wrapped the shopping spree

Kids are hopeful sleeping
Dreaming of their toys
Nick has gone high tech
For little girls and boys

With all the stress endured
We strove for jubilation
After all this bustle’s over
We’ll need a strong sedation

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Relationship Grief

I have a close friend who recently went through a break-up with his girlfriend.  He was so down as he expressed how much he hurt.  "You're grieving," I told him.  "But it's going to be OK.
"Grieving?  Hey, she's not dead!"
"But the relationship is.  Right now you think life can't go on, but it will and you will be fine.  Give it time and know there's an end to the dark tunnel."

After a breakup, there is a cycle of grief.


Wow, did that really just happen?  No, it was just a bad day.  She'll come around.  Your heart doesn't want to feel the pain, so your mind takes you to a safe place: the unreal.  This can last for a while, so you can assimilate what's happened in your own time.

When reality slowly returns, you will feel the pain of loss.  Sometimes it will seem unbearable, but you need to go through it.  Drinking it away will not help.  Instead, masking the pain will only prolong it.
Guilt is inevitable.  You will question everything you did, said, or did not do.  Your feelings towards yourself may become quite harsh.  You will think things like: "I'm too ugly!" or  "How could I have been so stupid?"  You aren't ugly or stupid or you wouldn't have been together in the first place, right?

 Now you get to vent.  It was all their fault!  How could they be so heartless?  I hate them!  Why me?  Why now?
This is your body getting rid of all the pent up emotion.  Mixed in all the anger is often bargaining.  "If she'll come back, I'll change."  You may begin to think of all the ways you could change to win back your love.  It's all part of the process.  You're fine.


A great time of reflection begins to overtake you.  You listen to all of "Our Songs."  Her pictures mean so much.  You wished you hadn't smashed that one when you were in the angry stage.  Others will try to cheer you up, but it will only aggravate you.   Try to let them know what's happening and that you'll be fine.  There's no sense burning bridges with the innocent.
Depression can set in.  You will probably want to sleep a lot.  Your mind will go to "that time when."  Once again, you're not going to live in this depression, but it needs to run its course.
Loneliness is also a part of the process.  You will feel all alone in a crowded room.  Without her, there's only one of you wherever you go. 


One day, you will wake up and your life will just seem normal.  Your first thoughts won't be of her, but of getting to work.  Depression will lift and you will begin to live again.  You will probably have thoughts about her, but they won't eat away at you.  


You now begin to function and find activities to enjoy with your friends without her.  Practical living will take precedence over lost love.


The day of acceptance is coming.  You will learn to love again and move on with your life.  Be careful not to force this while you are in stages 1-5.  Instead, let it happen over time.   
Accepting what happen does not mean you will never remember what happened.  Instead, it means that it will no longer control you.  You must choose to step out into happiness.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Her Reflected Love

Touching heart and mind with thoughtful flirtations
Gazing with eyes penetrating deep within
Speaking emotions from places not fathomed
No sweeter tune plays a bowed violin

Hands of gentle embrace with strong intention
Grasping my soul with unbreakable binds
Sweetly flowing her deepest expression
Beauty reflected in my eyes she finds

Encompassing tightly my fervent praise
Desiring passionate affection not wavered
Longing the release of grand appreciation
Approving with glances most favored

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blame Games and Sewage

     Dysfunctional families often create creative creatures, but seldom have happy habitants.  There's so much pain from father wounds, mother wounds, and sibling wounds in our society.  Often well-meaning and sometimes ruthless parents or siblings inflict a lot of pain that sinks deep into our souls.  We can blame them, if we choose, but does that do any good? 
     I found the source of our backed up sewer, but that did not mean I could take a shower.  Instead, a backhoe dug up the earth, created a downward slope, and put in new pipes.
Assigning blame leaves us in a stinking mess.  We can sit in it if we passively to our demise.   However, choosing to dig up, clean up, and refit can drain not only the pain, but the source of the problem.  Renew your mind, clear your pain, and start fresh. 
     The problems we inherit only remain our problems if we choose to own them.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Tweeter Friends Book

Greetings Writer Friends!

Here's the scoop on our joint book to fight cancer.  We will begin compiling in January after the mad rush of Christmas is past.  I don't know about you, but I barely have a chance to enjoy the holidays because I'm too busy rushing to where the enjoyment is suppose to be.

Our book will be composed of at least 10, 1500-2000 word stories, hopefully more!  There is no topic.  The idea is to display our best work in our genre.  Not unlike Five Stop Stories (Thanks for showing me that Dionne), the book will be for the one serving reader.  Readers Digest has operated for years on top by providing variety, so we'll take their lead and do the same.

Two issues pose themselves.  First, who is to compile and edit the stories?  We will.  But before we post, I suggest we have one other writer from the group look at our story.  We won't judge content, but point out typos, etc.

Second, who should set up the account?  I'm the logical one, but I prefer it was someone else.  The reason is simple: I don't want anyone second guessing motives or worrying about improper use of funds.  This is no scam for me.  My great-grandparents had eleven children.  Six of these were girls.  Four of those daughters died of breast cancer later in life.   Many of their daughters and granddaughters have been diagnosed with cancer, including my aunt and sister.  Therefore, I want someone whose motives are unquestionable to post the book on their account.  I'm open for suggestion on this matter.

What should the title be?  Short Stories by Tweeter Friends?  Commuter Reads for Cancer Research?  Comments here would help!

My email is pjcasselman at gmail com.  Feel free to email me anything that can't be put into 160 characters.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

From Crises to Creativity

     Frustration awaits those who believe their best work comes from crises created by procrastination. How much greater could it be if we create our own early deadlines and work feverishly to complete our work, but still have time to rework it? Those who live off the energy of crises are blinded by the truth that it is the crises which leeches their own energy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Weeping Christmas

Now I lay me down to sleep
Praying for peace not counting sheep
As Christmas nears there are bullets flying
Around their trees are mothers crying

May we find the way to grace
So mother and child can embrace
War on disease not human flesh
Heart and mind cure afresh

Is coexistence really a dream?
Revenge is such a fraudulent scheme
Stay in the moment, don’t look behind
Repent our angry frame of mind

Tear down the walls of hate and fear
Starve the war loving profiteer
Make Christmas a time to celebrate
Forgiveness can cure our love of hate

Friday, December 2, 2011

Creating Dissonance

     Living together in harmony is a beautiful idea.  I'd like to teach the world to sing and buy it a Coke, right?  All the wonderful people should dance in meadows filled with butterflies while children laugh around a fountain of endless chocolate pouring forth from a mountain made of fulfilled dreams.  What a wondrous harmony that would bring.  Unfortunately, that tune only exists in fantasy.
     In order to show the pain that they and others feel, some create dissonance.  They sing a very different tune in the midst of those trying desperately to find harmony.  When the diminished fifth clashes with the propagated chorus, people look to find the source of the disharmony and, hopefully, change occurs.  Often, the dissonance does not address the pain, however.  "Life is Meaningless" is not the antidote for "Life with Blinders."  "I Hate My Life" does not mitigate "Everything's Coming Up Roses."  Instead, the dissonance is seen as a ridiculous attempt to grab attention and distract from the harmony for neurotic narcissism.
      I love dissonance.  From prophets to poets, philosophers to philanthropists, those who step outside the harmony to call us to higher plains are my heroes.  Without genuine purpose, however, dissonance is only an ugly noise that will be drowned out by a louder chorus.  Rage against the machine, but understand its mechanisms.  Fight the power, but know our hoped end.  Rail against injustice, but first ascertain a viable ethic.