By Meg Langford
Oh so very recently….
Pickford Studios’ big teal green Suburban, lovingly nicknamed “The Dragon” broke down on a remote highway, spewing so much steam, it really did look like a mighty, but vanquished, dragon.
Then our other car broke down before the dragon could be healed.
The air conditioning system failed. In Florida. In June. Couldn’t be repaired. Brand new $6000 system required. (Same week as the Pulse shooting. And that baby, torn from his father’s side, killed by a gator at the Happiest Place on Earth, just down the road.)
Our mother, now in her 80’s, thinks she is nineteen. No, now it’s seventeen. She thinks she is going to the Governor’s Ball. This is between frightened and angry outbursts, the dark side of dementia. Just last month we were asked to move her as the assisted living facility was unable to control those outbursts. She is doing much better at her new home, but what will the next phase of this terrible disease bring? We witness her private hell with an agonizing sense of helplessness.
A dear friend’s wife died tragically young, like something from a heartbreaking song. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and cry for him. For a third of a century, although for a long while we fell out of touch, this loveable court jester bastard has been my buddy.
Our miniature museum was nearly destroyed in a great flood.
A dear friend’s family was washed away in a great flood. Even the dog.
Speaking of dogs. My dog died in my arms.
My other dog was eaten by a bear.
A dog ate my homework.
Only one of the above statements is untrue.
This has been one of the worst three times of my life. The other two were equally memorable. There was the fall of 2009. Global economic collapse. Los Angeles was hit hard. My house finally hit rock bottom, going from a comparable of 800,000 to 183,000. I walked away with nothing. The big fight then was my struggle to keep my three rescue dogs. The other worst time was when I was homeless, actually homeless, and sleeping in the back of a hundred year old brick building throughout a Virginia winter, with no heat. And this, after I had been clean of drugs for well over a decade.
I didn’t include among the three worst times the time I was kicked out of the University of Maryland PhD program, just days after I failed Len Bias and turned in his teammate for cheating. A decade of higher education. Credits completed. GPA: 3.8 Dissertation done after five drafts. Then: Lefty Driesell happens.
(I apparently don’t reek of education. Once, at the 99 Cents Store, a clerk told me my ride was leaving. She pointed to the bright Ticonderoga yellow Special Education School bus. Another time, while I was sitting outside the grocery store on a hot day with an empty cup, someone dropped a quarter in it. They said they would pray for me. I kept the quarter.)
People always act like it’s this terrible thing, to feel sorry for yourself. If all of the above doesn’t warrant a grand pity party, I’ll be damned if I know what does. And who is more perfectly poised to feel sorry for me than me? Besides, then nobody else has to. My heart is breaking for my two friends—and I can’t even begin to imagine the depths of their grief. So there hasn’t been much blogging lately. But there will be. Because if there is anything good for the writing process, its misery.
Counter-intuitively, some beautiful, luscious, impassioned writing can come out of that kind of suffering. Arnost Lustig taught me that. (There have been many good times, too.)
It always amazes me that our blogs get no comments. I figure that means our opinions, and the evidence that supports them, are either rhetoric perfected.
Or, alternatively, complete bullshit.
This bone-chilling time for me—and for the Pickford Studios Crew—is as good a time to thank our readers (or, when I am puffed up, my “audience”) for our astonishing numbers. 10,000 visits in July alone, for a blog not even one year old.
We will be writing soon. Details about the travails, of course.
Perhaps then you can determine whether I have exaggerated. I don’t think so, not much. That list sure as hell feels accurate.
In the meantime, please consider supporting our blog posts by reading them, re-reading the articles you find memorable, and most important, sharing. You see, not only do we offer ad-free Longform, thoroughly researched, by award winning writers. But on top of all of our other problems, we are very frequently ghost-banned by Facebook.
Ghost-banned by Facebook. This is an evil and insidious new form of censorship, whereby YOU can see your post, proudly placed there, within the appropriate context, tagged to the appropriate article, on Facebook. But nobody else can. You ask a friend to log on, they can’t see it. But—unless you learn about ghost-banning, you go through your day blithely thinking you have posted a pertinent comment. Really, Mark Zuckerberg? All those cheesy movie links make it. How “you can make 87 dollars an hour on line, starting today!!!” makes it. Profanity makes it. Cyber-bullying and name-calling make it. But not our links to chapters excerpted from a new groundbreaking book on racism? For those of you not familiar with our two volume book, it is called “The Little Book of Lynching.” Of course, with all of the ghost-banning going on, you might not know that.
The Zuckman can be a real turd sometimes.
We would also like you to support our museum, still in grave danger, (water damage), by clicking on MUSEUM under HOME at moviesforyourmind.net. The visits from you embolden and encourage us to plod on. (The pictures are just a smidgeon of our collection.) And, sometimes, it helps us sell a few books on Amazon.
Oh yeah. While we are talking about rough luck, the museum is dedicated to a girl killed by a drunk driver on Christmas Day. And born on Mother’s Day.
May God Bless You, Michelle.
Folks, your support is appreciated.