Lily T. Wolf and Me

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Immortalized in Stone.” Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?

The statue could be stone, but it has to be a piece of kinetic art, a person, me, with a stone carving of a Siberian husky at my feet. The moving piece would be my arm which would reach out and pull back over and over again.

That’s what this year has been. I moved away from my home of 30 years and retired from my career of 35 and crossed the Rocky Mountains and arrived in a small Colorado town where I’m trying to make a life. My very elderly Siberian husky, Lily T. Wolf, after suffering canine senile dementia (she was heading into her 16th year) was put to sleep in March. The moving arm? I am challenged with making connections here. It isn’t that people aren’t nice to me and welcoming — they most certainly are — but my pattern so far has been to join in and drop out.

Last winter I joined an online writing workshop with a “school” in Denver. It was supposed to last 8 weeks. I didn’t even make 4. I hated it, mostly because 1) a lot of the writing was bad so I felt like I was back teaching writing, 2) culture shock; the young have taken over and the ethic of good writing is not my ethic. In fact, their ethics are not my ethics. [I had a verbal altercation with a young person here on WordPress over just that, the over-sanitized emasculated world view that is regarded as “tolerance” these days is excruciatingly dishonest and intolerant (IMO). You see, I’d called a bimbo a bimbo…] Some — most — of the participants in the workshop were not among “the young,” however. They were, like me, retirees. But the difference was they were in the workshop because they knew they “had a book” in them. I was there because I had a book OUT THERE. I don’t think a person who “has a book” in them needs a workshop. That book (like a zit, like a splinter, like a baby) is going to come out… And then the story was compared to Tolstoy when it should have been compared to Dostoyevsky. They couldn’t keep their Russian writers straight.

Then I joined an artist co-op. It seemed like a great thing, a place to hang paintings and nice people to know, but it didn’t turn out that way for me. I came face-to-face with something I’d hoped to leave behind forever when I left teaching and that is an intense — and mutual — interpersonal dislike. I couldn’t believe that I was in the middle of a completely elective activity, comprising people who were there from no other motivation than goodwill, and there actually was a person vying for power, a competitive, dogmatic, manipulative, controlling bitch. This was not my assessment alone; it turned out to be a prevailing view of this person, but, unlike the others, I couldn’t deal with it. I couldn’t handle being in 2 hour meetings with her, I didn’t want to risk a casual encounter with her, I didn’t want to look at her paintings — in fact, when hers went up in the shop, mine came down to be replaced by drawings — good drawings — but the place ceased being a place where I wanted to hang my work.

“You’re not going to like everyone,” I told myself. But it seems that my skin is inside-out, at least partly, and my ability to tolerate is vastly diminished. I wonder; is it from years of being forced to tolerate, work with and motivate hundreds of people every year with no choice? No way to say, “No, I’m not dealing with this”? I even ended a 30 year friendship with a woman in California because I couldn’t stand her calling me and ranting endlessly about her abusive boyfriend and her health problems (they are related). Have I turned into a quitter?

I don’t know… But a sculpture of this past year would definitely include Lily T. Wolf and my arm, reaching out and pulling back.

10 thoughts on “Lily T. Wolf and Me

  1. I still go for a pyramid. The Egyptians would have their felines buried with them. I also seem to have had an altercation here. It would have ended there and then had the person in question not decided to write a memorial blog all about it. Anyhow I am still alive and kicking, although no longer so fit so the kicking has been reduced. I no longer join anything. I start with good intentions, but eventually get too lazy to continue and in any case no chance of a writing group here, it would all be in German.

    • I think having been the leader of a classroom for so long it really IS my way or the highway. The thing about my way is that it’s a very low-key, hands-off yet extremely competent way in which everyone is respected and competition is frowned upon. I have no tolerance for dogma or people who think they need to promote themselves and control others in a group. I oversaw probably THOUSANDS of group projects over the past 35 years and I watched about 20% of them crash. Most of them crashed because the group leader could not designate responsibility to other. That person ALWAYS complained that they did everything themselves. Anyway, I’m working as a volunteer for the co-op now and hoping very much that someone steps up who is an actual member and takes over what I’m doing. I want to disengage completely but I didn’t want to let people down.

  2. It seems that most if not all your commenters are much like kindred spirits and in agreement with you. I have a temperament and tolerance similar to yours. I don’t join anything and never have. I vastly deplored going to church and I don’t like organized religion or much of anything that goes by rigid rules, etc.

    At any rate, I can’t stand to be near a bitch either for I had to endure one or more of them when I worked for 35 years at VA as a registered nurse. I’m well aware of women who take credit when it is not their due. So don’t feel guilty if you are not one of them. There is no need. March to the beat of your own drummer. You have no need to conform of join.

    But I have strayed from the crux of this post. I think Lily would make a wonderful sculpture, Now if you could learn how to do that… 🙂

  3. No, you’ve not turned into a quitter. I am not good at ‘making nice’ with others. And if something is not working, I am gone. I don’t see it as quitting. You look, you join, you try and you know. And if you know if it’s not working–get out. I simply make room for me to do something else. Bitches….forget it.

  4. Maybe you’re just being yourself after having moulded your thoughts and actions over years past to get on with others. The time has perhaps come when you realise your time is precious, and you need to be yourself to make the most of it. Anyway, enjoy whatever you have decided to do.

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