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Posts Tagged ‘Stories’

It’s been way too long since I posted, so I just had to get something on. I really enjoy putting my thoughts “out there” whether they are reflective and hopefully meaningful to others or simply for my own fun and pleasure.

New York to Dallas by J. D. Robb (Sept., 2011)

I recently read J.D. Robb’s newest Eve Dallas adventure, New York to Dallas. This was pure fun, and I try not to miss her books when they come out as she is one of my favorite authors. I have enjoyed this entire series on several levels. Of course, the stories are engaging, and they provide a few hours of escape, fantasy, and wishful thinking. But more than that, the characters come alive, the research and bad-guy profiling is thorough, and imagining our world a few years into the future is entertaining. Robb is sort of a mystery, romance, and sci fi writer all rolled into one.

Nora Roberts aka J.D. Robb

Ms. Robb’s plots are also well-though out, detailed, and if not always plausible at least they are not unbelievably outlandish and even seem entirely possible in the given situations. But I think what I like best is the characters themselves, or maybe I should say the way the author develops them. There is the typical cast of characters, our heroine Eve and hero Roarke, the faithful sidekick Peabody—and in this case, the sidekick’s sidekick Ian, along with a solid cast of friends and family. All of them have been given solid personalities, and although perhaps a little too good to be true, they are the kinds of people we wish we could be and that we’d want in our lives.

I guess what I really like though, is the way Eve Dallas has matured over the years. Always a staunch pillar of justice, she pulls no punches where right and wrong are concerned. She has authority, the respect of her colleagues as both a woman and a cop, and a firm grasp on reality. Lt. Eve Dallas practically defines the word “integrity.” Eve stands for something; in her world, she stands for those who can no longer stand for themselves. She respects the humanity of the dead, no matter who they were. Good, bad, young, old, victim, criminal—when it is all said and done, Eve stands for the powerless.

Yet, the rigid views and rough edges Eve starts out with undergo a tempering process as she works her way through case after case. Eve never wavers in her commitment to the dead, but she begins to acquire a respect and appreciation for the living as well. What makes the difference for Eve is finding the perfect person to support her as she learns how to navigate the ins and outs of life as a responsible grown-up. When she meets future husband Roarke, Eve finds unexpected love. Eve already knows all about death, but it is their love, freely given and received, that enables her to discover what life is all about.

Without going into too much detail—there are after all approximately 33 novels plus short stories—Eve Dallas had a traumatic childhood.  Abused in every way possible, love-deprived, without even a name, Eve made it through the system and into the Police Academy to become the best homicide detective in New York City. Somehow she was able to hold onto her innate sense of fairness, even while chasing down some of the most depraved killers in the city and struggling through vivid, incapacitating nightmares of incest, rape, and starvation at the hands of her father. She is at once capable and efficient on the outside and yet battles fear and insecurity on the inside. Until she finds love. That’s when Eve begins to smooth off the rough edges and develop into a mature, giving, and emotionally present woman. Her story as it unfolds in the pages of the series is the tale of a woman finding her own power even as she restores it to those who can no longer claim it for themselves.

Like many of us, Eve does not feel she can either truly love or be loved. She is afraid of the vulnerability it takes to accept and return genuine love. When she finally acknowledges her love for Roarke, she has to then find the strength to believe that she is deserving of his love. Once she gets past that hurdle, she takes the next step by extending her love to those around her. It is harder to accept their love back, but she grows into it little by little. As she progresses through the books, Eve gradually acquires some stability in her life; only her nightmares remain to keep her off balance, and by the end of the latest book, she is finally coming to grips with those.

Dr. Roger Walsh

Although is sounds terribly cliché-ish to say that love conquers all, this is exactly what happens. In his book Essential Spirituality, Philosopher and psychiatrist Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D describes love as “a source of meaning for countless people, a goal for which millions live and die, and a force that shapes countries and cultures.” He goes on to add that mature love is based on sufficiency, wholeness, overflowing fullness, and joy. It is more than physical attraction and infatuation. Romantic love, when deep and true, is like a spiritual love: it “has no desire to get but only to give, no goal except to awaken itself within others, no need except to share itself.” This is the kind of love Eve Dallas discovers and grows into. And I am romantic enough to believe in it and enjoy it both in fiction and real life.

Eve and Roarke fictionally personify the power of real human beings who love unconditionally. As we watch them grow through and with each other, they model a love that all humans can aspire to; a love that is at once profound, boundless, and beneficial (Walsh). They portray love as it is meant to be: the most powerful and important of human emotions and abilities.

“Love has the power to awaken us,” says Walsh.

J.D. Robb says the same thing. That’s why I just love her books.

Many good thoughts and blessings,

This Old Crone

References

– Robb, J.D. New York to Dallas. Penguin Group, In Death Series #33, September 2011.

Essential Spirituality by Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D.

– Walsh, Roger. Essential Spirituality: The Seven Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind, with a foreword by The Dalai Lama. John Wiley & Sons, 1999, pages 72-75.

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This past fall I attended my first National Crones Counsel in Atlanta, GA. Crones Counsel is about women of age, for women of all ages, sharing stories, enriching connections to ourselves, each other, and the world. The term crone — “wise old woman” — is used to reference, and to reclaim, the name of the wisewoman of ancient times, when the elder woman was viewed as a fount of wisdom, law, healing skills, and moral leadership; her presence and leadership were treasured at every significant tribal ceremony and each personal occasion from birth to death.

Crones Counsel Celebrating Wise Women

I found Crones Counsel by accident, following a trail from one site to another, and now I can’t even remember why I was looking. But suddenly, there I was. I looked over the entire site, and lo and behold, they were coming to Georgia! I live in the Atlanta area, and I decided right then and there that I would attend the next gathering. I wanted to meet these women and hear their stories; I needed to find out if I, too, had a story to tell.

I had a great time!!!

Crones Counsel XVIII: Weaving Albuquerque, NM Sept. 22-26, 2010

I met many extraordinary Crones (women over fifty), and one exceptional Cronette (younger women with “old souls” who wish to share their stories). Six women in particular made me feel like I had come home rather than just arrived. The first morning I met the “Three Amigas,” Marge, Barbara, and Wanda, and we immediately became four. Later I got to know Bevie and her sister Marlene, and of course Julie, one of the cronettes. I laughed all weekend; the gathering was exactly what I had been looking for and much more than I expected. I can’t wait to see them all again. In fact, I am so eager to meet some new crone friends I signed up months ago for this year’s gathering in Albuquerque, NM, September 22-26th.

“Well,” you may ask, “exactly who, or what, is a Crone?”

According to the Crones Counsel website (http://www.cronescounsel.org):

A Crone is an elder woman who has learned to walk in her own truth, in her own way, having gained her strength by acknowledging the power and wisdom of the totality of her experience.

A Crone is a woman concerned with housing, social security, pensions, healthcare, and her relationships with children, grandchildren, and siblings. A Crone is a retired woman, a soon-to-be retired woman, a widow, an empty nester who desires good health, energetic living, and independence. A Crone is a woman who is adapting constructively, often gracefully, to the process of aging. A Crone is a woman who is comfortable with her spiritual self, her intuition, and her creative power.

A Crone may be a woman of any color, race, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, educational level, lifestyle, or political persuasion. She may be disabled or abled, introvert or extrovert, single, married, widowed, or partnered. She is like you and me. What does set the Crone apart, however, is her willingness to tell the truth about her life.

In that light, Crones Counsel consistently focuses on the empowerment and well-being of older women and claims the honored status of the ancient crone for contemporary women.

Since March is Women’s History Month I feel it is especially appropriate to mention one Honored Elder (women 80 and over) in particular. The first moment I spotted her in the crowd, Donna Love made a lasting impression on me as to the kind of elder woman I aspire to be. Donna is a beautiful, elegant, and articulate woman whose vitality grabs you even from a distance. Maybe that’s because she has, as she says, learned to “follow her bliss” (CroneTimes, February 2010, Volume 9, Number 1).

Donna Love

Donna published her first book as she turned eighty. She describes Tell Me a Story as a collection of forty “little stories” that had just “languished about the house.” Since then Donna has published a second book, To Make the House Complete, an autobiographical account of how, in her sixties and seventies, she got married and moved into four houses — two in Mexico, a farm in Oregon, and a beach cottage in California.

What I really like about Donna is that she is still excited about life. She continues to learn new skills and find something to celebrate in each day. Donna inspires me in many ways; I admire her tremendously, and she is one of the reasons I decided to start This Old Crone blog. You can visit Donna’s web site at http://www.donnarankinlove.vpweb.com.

To learn more about Crones Counsel I invite you to visit the Crones website. For those of you who live in the Atlanta area, we are in the process of starting an Atlanta Crones Circle. If you would like to join us, our first meeting is coming up Thursday, March 18th at the Meditating Mantis bookstore in Roswell, GA (http://www.meditatingmantis.com). You may contact me for details, or simply come to the meeting at 5:30 pm. You crones and cronettes who live in other parts of the country can check the website for local circles in your area.

I hope to meet a few new crones next week. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about the elders you admire most.

Blessings,

This Old Crone

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My name is Chris Kell, and I am This Old Crone.

Life is about stories, and the purpose of this blog is mostly just to let me talk about my experiences, express my thoughts, and share whatever wisdom I have gained over the years. If anyone out there in webland reads what This Old Crone writes, I will feel blessed. If anyone is actually interested enough to respond, I’ll be ecstatic. My hope is to create a forum where other people — other Crones — can feel comfortable telling their stories and sharing their own hard-won wisdom.

I think it is appropriate that I’ve started This Old Crone now. It is International Women’s Day, and since March is Women’s History Month, I will start by focusing on women: those I’ve loved, those who have been important to me, and those whom I want to know more about — women whose stories I want to share with you.

The first Crone I want to introduce is my mother-in-law. Miss Tee was a true Southern lady, gentle, polite, and loving. I never heard her say an unkind word about anyone. She always supported me, and made me feel like I was a part of her family.

Miss Tee

The first time I met Miss Tee was awkward. My husband-to-be, her son, had not really prepared his family for me. He was in the process of a divorce, and his first wife had been close to his family. They did not quite know what to do with me. But Tee welcomed me warmly, and included me as part of her clan. From that day on I adored her.

Through the years we became close. It was Miss Tee who came to help when our children were born, who passed on favorite family recipes, taught me how to cook “Southern style.” She never forgot a birthday or anniversary and came to visit often; I always looked forward to her arrival. And boy, did she love her soaps! It was as much fun catching up on her TV family as it was listening to her read family letters while telling me who each member was, how they were related, and all the little details that made me feel like I was one of them.

Miss Tee took care of her mother Lizzy until she passed on (a story for another time), and I looked forward to when I could do the same for her. We were ready and eager for her to come live with us and had it all planned out; she would move in right after Christmas. Sadly, Tee never made it, as she became ill and made her final journey a couple of months later.

I miss Tee more than words can express. I am sure you all know the feeling. She was my role-model, my surrogate mother, my friend. Thinking of her now still brings tears along with all the fond memories and happiness for having known and loved her.

Blessings,

This Old Crone

*My thanks to Crones Counsel for the definition of “crone”.

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