Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mugwump Musings: Thanksgiving Week 2013


For the last five years, I've been sending a post every Saturday morning with thoughts about my life, past events, and the world around me.  I started doing this as a therapeutic venture.  My second marriage had just limped to a halt; my son had boarded a plane for Mexico and would return two inches taller with curly hair and a deep tan; and I had a whole summer to myself.  Writing served the same role for me that a weekly counseling session might provide, with the added impact of a virtual audience.

At that time, my captive readers consisted of the Solo and Small Firm Internet Group of the Missouri Bar.  This group, among whose members I have found deep and lasting friendships, actively dialogues about the same things which draw me:  Life, the practice of law, and all things intriguing, inspiring or interesting.  Eventually, I added a "BCC" list, on which you all appear -- although my current technology does not allow me to move your addresses from the "to" field to the "bcc" field.  Those in the "copy" list comprise my family:  By birth and by choice.  Later still, I found my way to a blogspot site, and the link for the blogspot goes to social media each week.

After last year's election cycle, I left the lawyers' internet group where this post had its birth.  I found myself unable to tolerate the nastiness that had besieged that group during the challenges of the 2012 elections and the aftermath involving the Affordable Care Act.  As a known liberal-thinker, I suffered personal attacks on that list which detracted from my enjoyment of it.  Any time I tried to voice an opinion in phrasing that did not rise to the level of a "personal rebuttal", the stinging rebukes from list-members cost me another quality day.  In short, I left the sandbox because I could not manage the little kids throwing pebbles at me, and I found a greater joy outside that group, even with all of its virtues and benefits, than I did inside it.

But the musings did not die with my membership in SFIG.  As a writer, I found the essay form to be an immensely appealing vehicle.  I started a writers' workshop which, though currently on hiatus, had a couple of successful cycles.  I realized that in leaving "writing" behind as a profession thirty-five years ago, I abandoned an important aspect of my self.

I told  that self, and my friends, that 2013 would be the year in which I published a collection of my essays.  My friend Penny Thieme, who is a photographer,  painter,  multi-media artist, and founder / director of the VALA Gallery, encourages me in this effort.  She tells me that I am a literary artist. I dismiss her characterization; but she smiles, and does not abandon me.

But 2013 had other ideas.  I broke my hand; I had surgery; my mother-in-law declined and then died; I dislocated my hip; I broke a rib; my heart started beating wildly and my asthma careened out of control.  My practice survived but my writing suffered.  And here I am:  About to give thanks for getting through another year, for the people and places I have seen and loved; for the times my son's little Kia pulled into the driveway safely from yet another trip; for my husband who stands beside me despite the challenges being married to me poses; and for my family, by birth and by choice, without whom I could not do any of  this.  They know who they are.  They smile, right now, reading this, because they know how indispensable to me they have become.

So.  I plan to be on the road to St. Louis this Saturday, where I'll try to see a few of my blood-family, and maybe a friend or two.  My brother Stephen's daughters; my sister Joyce; my brother Frank; maybe a bunch of nieces and nephews in the Frank and Mark tribes. Maybe just one or two of those on my list.  I won't be posting a musing this week, so this is my musing for you, for each and all of you.

Walk out on your porch, your balcony, your stoop, and look around you. Breathe the air that wafts towards you, and feel the rays of sun upon your face.  Close your eyes.  Listen for the voices of those whom you love.  If the air does not shimmer with the casual conversation of someone whom you can call toward you, then step out onto the sidewalk, and put your best foot forward. Don't stop until you come to the presence of someone who greets you with a smile.  When you have that person in sight, embrace them.

And never let them go.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.