What’s In A Name? – Everything and Nothing at All!


What’s In A Name? Everything and Nothing at All

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the importance of names. In my former post, I told bloggers that as far as Search Engine Optimation and being found on Google is concerned, Naming or Titles is of key importance. Here

Today, I want to take a more Shakespearian position.


What’s in a name?  that which we call a rose 
By any other name would smell as sweet…Shakespeare

In the grander and the less computerized scheme of things [the places where SEO doesn’t count], understanding the naming of things is a bit more complex.

Many years ago, I began to think about how foolish it is to believe that groups of letters can represent anything of substance. Yet, that is the construct of writing. We form letters together, and we expect our readers to make the leap of faith and connect them to some greater meaning.

For a moment, let’s revert to the more Zen-like way of “seeing” things–the understanding beyond the name–the understanding of the Nameless.

The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things

Thus, constantly free of desire
One observes its wonders
Constantly filled with desire
One observes its manifestations

These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders


The Tao that can be completely explained or expressed in words is not the constant, eternally unchanging and true Tao.

If the name of this Tao can be defined with words, then it is not the constant, eternally unchanging name of the true Tao.

Names did not exist prior to Creation. The nameless Tao is therefore the source of the universe.

Once it manifests itself as the physical universe, it can be named. Everything is derived from it through natural processes. It is therefore the mother of all things.
The Tao – Chapter 1 Read More Here

When he speaks about poetry, Emerson alludes to the Namelessness of things:

You might as well think to go in pursuit of the rainbow, and embrace it on the next hill, as to embrace the whole of poetry even in thought. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Autumn scene. Fall. Trees and leaves in sun light

The words that we use are inadequate tools that we throw toward a representation of what we are feeling or what we understand within ourselves. Words are mere strings of letters that a human created to serve as code for what we feel when we see the image or feel the emotion first hand. If we seek to truly understand another person’s words, we need to dive deeper than the word itself–down to the marrow or the essence of what has been said.

The Taoist Nameless essence, which should inspire the artist and/or writer, is a much deeper quality than that of a superficial string of letters.

The Nameless [or the Wordless — or the Textless] essence springs from the wells of one’s being.

When we think about this tree or that tulip or that misty night, we don’t think in terms of the letters that spell those things. We think in terms of the images or the feelings that the words bring to mind.

Episode 7 of the HBO series Girls begins to deal with the complexity of naming things.

Mimi Rose has a performance art exhibit, where everyone in attendance wears a vest that says “Ask Me My Name.” Apparently, some of the attendees have a script that is supposed to foster genuine conversation. Jessa shines a beacon on that farce. “What do you mean…script?”

When people leave the Mimi Rose exhibit, everyone except Hannah has removed their show vests, which were intended to prompt honest interaction [with scripts]. Mimi Rose and Hannah ride in a taxi together and en route to the next event, they stop. Hannah ducks into a bathroom and Mimi Rose gives a poem to a random stranger.  Although she knows nothing at all about this person, she pretentiously shares everything. That is exactly what had happened in Mimi Rose’s relationship with Hannah’s old boyfriend Adam. Although Adam didn’t even know Mimi Rose’s full name, Mimi Rose had become pregnant with his child.

Mimi Rose tells Hannah that she will give Adam back to her. Hannah tells Mimi Rose that she is laying out a beaver trap. Hannah tells Mimi Rose that her art is bullshit and she just fools people with it and that she actually knows that.

Mimi  Rose tells Hannah that the idea behind her exhibit and the “Ask My Name” vests is to increase awareness about the fact that people have become so very self-absorbed that they no longer take the time to get to know each other. [Keep in mind that Mimi Rose is sleeping with and became pregnant by Adam and that they actually know very little about each other.]

In the way that is typical of the series Girls,  Hannah’s last stop of the night is at a fast-food place. She is still wearing her “Ask Me My Name” vest from Mimi Roses’s exhibition, and the man behind the counter asks her name [for the order]. When she tells him her name, he doesn’t acknowledge her. She [regardless of her having given the man her name]  is nothing more to him than his next food order.

What Am I Saying About Names and Naming?

I think that the bottom line in all of this is that understanding is a deep, complex thing. It is a feeling, an emotional thing–and it is beyond the black and white of text. Understanding requires more than reading a few words.

As writers, we must do more than write a few lines of text, and as painters, we must do more than the replicating of images.

Art is an essence. It is an ideal. It is an arrow shot into the fog. Sometimes it misses its mark entirely and sometimes, it does not. Regardless of where the arrow lands, however, the artist needs to keep aiming for the truth–the Nameless.

©Jacki Kellum April 30, 2016



If Happy Little Bluebirds Fly Beyond the Rainbow, Why–Oh Why, Can’t I?

Accomplish, Quote, Motivation, Accomplishment, Success

If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out! You Can Do What You Want!

Many, many years ago, I saw an illustration with a simple, crude stairway stretched toward heaven and the words were inscribed: I Want! It may have been a William Blake illustration. I saw it at about the time that I was writing a thesis on him–that was a lifetime ago.

Even when I was very young–at least by junior high–I realized that I was driven to be–to do something–to say something–to make something. Although I have done and said many things, I do not feel that I have reached that something for which I was intended. I believe that this something is somehow linked to that some place that is at the top of the stairway and tucked behind the stars. I believe that this most special place is actually somewhere over the rainbow–and not merely at the top of the stairs.

For the past week, the HBO Series Girls has been on my brain. Don’t worry, I’ll move on soon, but I am still trying to drink the elixir of this series to the dregs. In many ways, I identify with Hannah, the main character in Girls. I cannot say that I identify with Lena Dunham, the creator of Girls and the actress who plays Hannah. Yet, I do believe that Hannah is part of Lena Dunham.

Lena Dunham DID it. She wrote it, she acted it, she created it–she said it all, and she said it brilliantly. In Season 4 of Girls, however, I think that we see in Hannah the nagging fear that rests within Lena Dunham–the other side of Lena Dunham’s coin. This same type of fear is what trips many of artists and writers up. It is what prevents many of us from attaining our goals.

A while back, I shared a video showing the very young Barbara Streisand and Judy Garland singing together. I pointed out that both Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand have been incredibly successful; yet, neither of them ever felt totally comfortable with their gifts–probably not with themselves either. I believe that the artist’s greatest struggle is to move beyond his fears and his lack of confidence–especially in regards to his work.

In the series Girls, it would seem that Hannah had always wanted to be a writer. When the series begins, she is already pursuing that goal, but along the way, she gets discouraged and she takes a wrong turn. Consequently, in Season 4, Hannah quits writing and begins teaching. Her friend Jessa reminds her, “Those who can do, and those who can’t, teach.”

Hannah responds that she can’t and for that reason, she will teach.

Early in that same season, Hannah discovers that while she was in Iowa, pursuing her dream, a seemingly perfect, thin, beautiful, and successful artist stole her boyfriend Adam. In a conversation, Hannah finally admits that because Mimi Rose actually is a working artist and because she [Hannah] gave up on her dream, she hates Adam’s new artist girlfriend Mimi Rose

That speaks volumes to me. It is easy to hate the people who follow their dreams, but the real problem is not with the other person–the person who succeeds. The problem lies within ourselves.

Many of us artists and writers need to conquer our fears. We need to  break the cycles that loop around us, tangling around our heels, preventing us from moving forward.We simply need to change. 

Change, Arrows, Clouds, Sky, Direction, Start

Insanity : Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein .

Stars, Reach, Success, Motivation, Motivational

At one time, I taught in schools and I always had an Emerson quote on my wall:

Hitch Your Wagon to the Stars – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I was younger, I associated success with making a lot of money–with being a star, like Lena Dunham. Perhaps it is more of my compromising and more of my quitting now, but as I have gotten older, I have realized that success is not actually linked to money and fame. Success is not always at the top of the stairway to Heaven. Rather, success is somewhere deep within our beings and it is a product of letting that something inside out to fly freely about.

If you want to sing out, sing out and if you want to say yes, say yes. You can be what you want.

Say it: I can be what I want. I give all of us the permission to succeed.

While success may or may not be at the top of the stairway to heaven, I do believe that it is somewhere over a rainbow, which I actually believe is somewhere deep inside.

If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh why, can‘t I?

Happy Journey! Pick Up Your Bed and Walk!

©Jacki Kellum April 30, 2016


Girls Season 4 – Songs and Summaries

During Season 4 of Girls, Hannah begins graduate school at the Iowa Writers Workshop, where she is teamed with another young Indie screenwriter and filmmaker, Desiree Akhavan.

Episode 1

In Episode 1, Marnie continues make music with and to make love to Desi; and Desi continues to say that he has another girlfriend.

During Season 3, Hannah’s mother had warned her about Adam’s anger and darkness. At the beginning Season 4, Episode 1, Hannah’s parents have come to visit her and celebrate her being accepted to the Iowa Writers Workshop. Adam shows up late for dinner, and his toast seems to prove Hannah’s mother’s feelings about him:

“To Hannah. Taking the next step in a series of random steps. How strange our journey is through life. You know, we try to inject it with meaning but at the end of the day all we have are… days… marching on.” – Adam’s Toast [or lack of a toast] to Hannah

Adam has moved back into Hannah’s apartment, and he continues to be disappointed with his acting.

At the end of Episode 1, Hannah’s parents are driving her to the airport to move to Iowa.

Episode 2

At the beginning of Episode 2, Hannah is thrilled about how much more inexpensive Iowa is than New York City, “Two thumbs the fuck up.”

In Iowa, Hannah feels like a fish out of water. When her dear friend Elijah comes to live with her, things look better for her.

At the beginning of Episode 3, Hannah is talking to Jessa via Skype. It is obvious that she misses her friends in NYC.

Love Blood

In Episode 3, Adam has begun to distance himself from Hannah. He asked Jessa if it would be okay if he threw away her refrigerator magnets.

While walking with Adam in NYC, Jessa decides to simply squat to use the bathroom in the middle of the street. Both she and Adam are arrested, and they call Rato bail them out.

“You guys are a pair of barbarians. You know that? We live in a civil society that’s buttressed by decency and respect, okay? We don’t resist arrest when we’ve done something wrong. We don’t tackle police officers. And we sure as fuck do not urinate on the sidewalk!” – Ray to Adam and Jessa

We can tell that something is beginning to percolate between Adam and Jessa, but Adam seems to be trying to resist her spell.

Desi’s and Marnie’s relationship or lack of relationship continues to be confusing.

Hannah elects to tell the other members of the writing workshop what their flaws are.

After criticizing everyone else in the room, Hannah decides to go back to her Iowa apartment. A Menonite driving a buggy gives her a ride:

Episode 4

During Episode 4, Ray begins to emerge as a civic leader.

Desi finally dumps his girlfriend and falls apart. Marnie has her man. The question begins to mount, Does she really want him?

Hannah finally pushes enough buttons that she alienates everyone in the writing program and decides to get back to New York City.

When she opens her NYC apartment door, however, she discovers that Adam has removed all of her stuff from the place and has moved another girl in.

Episode 5

Hannah doesn’t respond well to being replaced by Mimi Rose. In fact, for a while, she refuses to leave.

In the final scene of Episode 5, Hannah does leave her NYC apartment and goes to the storage unit, where Adam had moved her things. She quietly lies down on the couch.

Episode 6

At the beginning of Episode 6, we see that Adam and Mimi Rose are enjoying a blissful time together

Can’t Nobody

Later in the same episode, the other shoe drops for Adam, when he discovers that Mimi Rose has aborted his child. Adam and Mimi Rose are confronted with the reality that the two of them have totally different philosophical views of life.

Marnie and Desi are spinning in a narcissistic cocoon that they are wrapping around themselves. They are shown making love, and in the background, they are playing a music video of themselves playing and singing. Desi is an emotional disaster, and Marnie is beginning to see that. She confronts him saying that lately, she had been the only one who is actually writing music while he tampers with his motorcycle.

I don’t write much about Shoshanna. Of the four girls featured in the series, Shoshanna is least like me. That is not a compliment to myself. Although she is neurotic, she is probably the least narcissistic. During this episode, Shoshanna continues to audition for jobs.

Hannah feels like the bottom has dropped out of her bucket, and she continues to see a psychiatrist. She says to him that the upside of having everything go wrong in life is that you simply quit having any expectations of anyone else. She decides that she needs a job helping others, and that is what prompts her to seek a teaching job.

When she discusses her plans with her group of friends, Elijah speaks the great truth that he is suspicious of people who have the need to help.

The West

When Hannah tells the group that she thinks that she will become a teacher, Jessa reminds Hannah that those who can, do. Those who can’t teach. Hannah says that she can’t; therefore, she will teach.

God Knows You Gotta Give to Get

Episode 7

In Episode 7, Mimi Rose has an installation-type exhibit, where everyone in attendance wears a vest that says “Ask Me My Name.” Apparently, some of the attendees have a script that is supposed to foster genuine conversation. Jessa shines a light on that farce. “What do you mean…script?” Jessa’s heart throb Ace is at the show, but he has a thing for Mimi Rose.

Ace delivers some cold reality to Adam when he asks him if he actually thinks that Mimi Rose really likes him. Ace adds that to Mimi Rose, Adam is just a chess move. He continues, saying that he knows where Adam is right now, “Adrift on a river of Mimi Rose.”

When people leave the Mimi Rose exhibit, everyone except Hannah has removed their show vests, which were intended to prompt honest interaction. Mimi Rose and Hannah ride in a taxi together and en route to the next event, they stop. Hannah ducks into a bathroom and Mimi Rose gives a poem to a random stranger. Then, she tells Hannah that she will give Adam back to her. Hannah tells Mimi Rose that she is laying out a beaver trap. Hannah tells Mimi Rose that her art is bullshit and she just fools people and that she actually knows that. Mimi  Rose tells Hannah that the idea behind her exhibit and the “Ask My Name” vests is to increase awareness about the fact that people have become so very self-absorbed that they no longer take the time to get to know each other. [Keep in mind that Mimi Rose is sleeping with and became pregnant by Adam and that they actually know very little about each other.]

Hannah admits that getting to know Mimi Rose pains her because she is a perfect package. She is beautiful and thin and  lectures and is a successfully working artist. Hannah concedes that she quit being an artist and that now, she will be boring, like her mother. She says, “I wasn’t talented enough.” I’ll probably write an entire blog post about this exchange. Lena Dunham [who I believe is largely Hannah] is extremely talented and successful and yet, somehow has doubts.

Speaking of boring, frustrated people, in her teaching job, Hannah meets her next romantic partner, Fran.

In the way that is typical of this series, Hannah’s last stop of the night is at a quick food place. She still has on her “Ask Me My Name’ vest, and the man behind the counter asks her name [for the order]. When she tells him her name, he doesn’t acknowledge her at all as anything but his next food order.

Episode 8

In Episode  8, we see that Hannah, who is teaching high school, has failed to set professional boundaries teaching. She treats her students like friends and has inappropriate discussions with them. She even goes with one of the students, to get their tongues pierced–in best friends style–“best frenulum piercings”.

On the way to the tattoo parlour, Hannah shares the intimate details of her love life.

Desi has bought new guitar pedals and has spent every dime that he and Marnie have made. The honeymoon is ending on that relationship. Too bad, they do not accept that reality. Desi proposes to Marni.

Jessa tries to give Shoshanna relationship advice. She brandishes the men who are clamouring after her as her authority. She tells Shoshanna that she has “…four suicide attempts under her belt”–men who couldn’t live without her.

Shoshanna tries the Jessa approach to catching men and on her date with Scott, she tries sex-talking him:

Early in Episode 8, Hannah’s dad tells her mother that he is gay. Later, they go to a party to celebrate Hannah’s mother’s having attained tenure. At the party, the dad begins to make a decorous, convoluted toast to the mother, and she leaves the table–saying that the whole thing is bullshit.

Hannah calls to ask her parents if she is too dramatic:

“Wait, Mom, I need to ask you something. Do you think I’m a dramatic person? Cause this guy that I like, or like don’t even like, I went on one half date with him and he claims to like me says I’m too dramatic. I’m not dramatic. I’m a person who’s not gonna sugarcoat things. I’m a person who really gets a lot – out of life. Okay, and I’m also a person who sees the darkness in life. I’m not a fucking character on ‘The Hills.’ I’m responding to real issues. I’m responding to the financial crisis. I’m responding to the fact that so many people are homeless. If that makes me dramatic, if that makes me… Courtney Love, you know, then I can handle that…”

Meanwhile, her mother wants to tell Hannah that her dad is gay. Like two ships in the night, the conversations fly past each other.

Episode 9

At the beginning of Episode 9, Jessa has caught her next victim and she and Ace are having sex.

new dorp

Later, Ace and Jessa are walking and Ace navigates them to the street where Mimi Rose’s studio is. He wants it camouflage the fact that he is still chasing Mimi Rose, but Jessa sees through the ploy.

“I’m not gonna to be a pawn in your game. I fucking run game! And you are full of shit in a different way. I don’t even know what that way is and I’m sure you’ll probably make some really shitty art about it.”

Ray has taken his interest in civic affairs to another level and is running for office. Shoshanna helps him campaign.

marie marie

An interesting note is that early in the series Ray and Shoshanna were together. She decided he wasn’t ambitious enough for her and dumped him. Ray began sleeping with Marnie, but at the same time, Marnie was sleeping with Desi. Marnie and Desi come to Ray’s campaign party and Marnie tells Ray about her engagement. Ray manages to congratulate Desi, but he obviously cares for Marnie.

Shoshanna had tried to get Ray back, but that failed. Yet, she is still his greatest campaign support.

At the beginning of the series, Ray was a dead beat, but Shoshanna had urged him to be a better person and to strive for more. She is continuing that effort. Ray makes a campaign speech ostensibly to the group, but his eyes were focused on Marnie when he said that he would always be there for them.

Hannah is becoming her parent’s adviser. This is evidence that the roles of parent and child are shifting. Although Hannah has continued to share inappropriate details and intimacies with her student “friend,” she tells her dad that his telling her about his gayness is contrary to proper boundaries.

Marnie uses Ray’s campaign party to announce her engagement. Ray and Hannah fake being happy about it.

Episode 10

Early in  Episode 10, Shoshanna interviews for a great job in Japan.

Ray tells Desi that he is a selfish douche and that he is totally undeserving of Marnie. When Desi fails to show for a performance, Desi confirms that Adam’s accusations are true.

Adam’s  psychotic sister has been living beneath Hannah’s apartment in another apartment with a recovering junkie-misfit. They are expecting a baby any day, and they are planning for the birth to be at home.When things begin to go wrong with that, Jessa, Hannah, and Adam help carry the screaming Caroline along the sidewalks of NYC to the hopital.

Because of her role in trying to help deliver the baby, Jessa decides that she is meant to  e a caretaker. She decides to return to school and study to be a psychologist.

Hannah offers the baby some advice:

“I’m gonna tell you some things about being alive. Life, man. I can’t guarantee perfection but I can guarantee intrigue.” – Hannah to the Baby

Adam tries to get Hannah back. She says that she can’t

As the season ends, Hannah and her newest romantic partner Fran are walking in the snow:


Let’s All Get Together and Have An Old-Fashioned Easter – What My Mother Said

Easter, Greeting Card, Vintage, Little Girl, Roses

Let’s All Get Together and Have An Old-Fashioned Easter

I missed Easter this year! I was struggling with a respectably bad case of the Shingles virus, and Easter Bunnies and Baskets were the farthest thing from my mind. But today, I heard a comment that made me think of Easter–All of the Easters that I have missed–All of the Easters from the past several years.

Easter, Greeting Card, Vintage, Easter Bunny, Wooden

I was born in 1950 and although many things about the 1950s were less than ideal, Easters then were superior.

Easter, Greeting Card, Vintage, Little Girl, Infant

On Easter morning, I would wake up to discover that during the night, the Easter Bunny had come and hidden the eggs. God Bless that Easter Bunny! He was almost as great as Santa. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night would stop me from looking for those eggs.

Easter, Greeting Card, Vintage, Angel, Lamb, Card

And then it was time to go to Sunday School and Church.

Of course, the preparation for Easter services began long before Easter Sunday. We had to go to Malden, the bigger town that was ten miles away, and buy a proper Easter dress and shoes–generally, they were white patent leather. But shoes and dresses were not enough! For Easter, we always had to buy a fancy Easter hat, too.

Were those really the Good, Old Days?

In many ways, those old Easters were truly good–I cannot think of any other word to describe it. It was a sweet time to be a child.

During the fall, I began posting some of my mother’s writings. To record her thoughts, I sort of tricked her. Years ago, I sent my mother a series of emails, asking her to write me back about this or that of her memories. As I begin now to think about home and old-fashioned Easters, allow me to take you back a bit further–back to my mother’s childhood.


What My Mother Said about Her Easter that Was Lavender

My mother was born in 1926, during the Depression. That was a bleak time for most children, but for my mother, childhood must have been terribly difficult and painful. By the time that she was six-years-old, my mother’s mother had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, and afterward, my mother hardly had a mother at all.  In fact, there were times that she had no home as a child. Rather, she lived alone in a hotel.

My mother did spend a great deal of time at her grandmother’s house, and her aunt and cousin were living there at the same time.  During most of my mother’s childhood, this aunt and her son were probably the closest thing that my mother had to family, and she has many wonderful things to say about them.

In my mother’s opinion, her cousin was a saint of a guy.  In another post, she relates that of all the cousins who gathered at her grandmother’s house for Christmas, this particular cousin was the only one who got toys; yet, the child graciously shared both his toys and his mother with my mother:

In the following account, my mother has more to say about the aunt, the cousin, and the grandmother’s house, where they all lived.

From the Memoir of Laura Mae Dunscombe Baker, Born December 6, 1926
Recorded by Jacki Kellum

If you have read other of this series of posts, you will remember that my mother actually said what I will share:

“…one summer vacation… [my aunt] decided that we kids needed to go to St. Louis (which then was on the other side of the moon from us) and see the Veiled Prophet Parade.  I think this event is still  held (not sure) and that it is held in July.

“Anyway, Grandma thought this was just about the craziest thing she had ever heard of and proceeded to see that it didn’t happen.  My aunt dug in her heels and the more Granny fussed the more determined she [my aunt] became to go.  Well, the day of the trip, Grandma hid the car keys (Grandpa’s car) and though we all looked for hours, we could not find them.  … a knock-down and drag-out developed.  Finally, Grandpa, who usually was quite docile and let things go over his head, stepped in and ordered Grandma to produce the keys so off we went.

“The car was loaded down with kids and the one adult, my aunt.  She decided she couldn’t afford to put all this bunch up in a hotel, and that just across the Mississippi River in Illinois, her brother had a big house where we could all sleep and eat.  It was late afternoon when we got to the City and we were attempting to cross the bridge into Illinois after work traffic had really gotten underway.  We got just onto the bridge and had a blow-out.

“In those days, you didn’t keep running on a blown out tire.  You were stopped, dead cold.  So, there we sat, 20 hungry and tired kids, cars honking for us to get out of the way.  Bedlam!!  But the world just had to stop until we could get help.  It came of course and strong men pushed us to the side so that traffic could continue.  I cannot remember who fixed the tire or what happened.  Probably Uncle Norman came to our rescue.  I don’t know.

“Not the end of the story.  On the way home a couple or three days later we got back to the country and this time it was dark.  The best I recall, we were somewhere within 40 miles of home, when a horse stumbled across the highway and we hit it.  Broadsided!!  I can’t remember much about that either except it was another catastrophe.  And we delivered the car back in pretty bad repair.  More arguments of course.

“All in all…[my aunt] was the mother I didn’t have, really.  She made me clothes and taught me things I never would have known otherwise.  One Easter she made me a lavender, organdy dress and bought me some white shoes.  We got up Easter morning and it was snowing!! I wore the dress anyway.  Wild horses would not have kept me from it.  No coat, of course.  That would have covered it up.

“Lots of memories.  Some good, some bad.  She took us to Sunday movies a lot and each time there was hell to pay with Grandma because she ‘didn’t believe in it.’  More hidden car keys or whatever she could think of.  But you can see why I think a lot of…[my cousin].  He was a good brother and a happy one.  He and his mom laughed when they could have been crying.  She gave him that, I’m sure to cover up for the bad things that could have been his life without a father.  I’m sure he never missed one.

“He always made money by being a golf caddy out at the Sweetwater golf course.  He would ride his bike out there on Saturday and Sunday and caddied for tips.  He always kept me in nickels and candy.  He had a friend that I don’t to this day know whether he befriended because no one else did or because he just liked him.  But he was a poor, fat boy.  It reminds me of stories I’ve read, but they were truly good friends.

“The boy’s daddy made money by standing on the street corner, playing music for nickels or dimes.  You can imagine how much he might have made during the Depression, and especially in that small town.  The daddy played the tambourine.”

The above is what my mother said about one Easter that was nice for her and about her special aunt and cousin. Now, I’d like to elaborate a bit on that same aunt.

Again, my mother was a child during the Great Depression, and her aunt [my great aunt] was a child during the 1890s. My ultimate goal is to eventually have my own memoir published. Two days ago, I said to someone that I really have NO excuse not to follow through with that.  I have rich childhood memories, and in her own words, I have memories of my mother’s childhood, too. But I have more than that. I have my great aunt’s actual memoir, as well. What a bunch of gifts!

Back to the Easter tale, however. When I was a child, Easter was a special time in our home. It wasn’t the day that we got another big, expensive toy. I fear that is what Easter is today. In fact, I am not sure that I ever received any toys on Easter, but I always got a new basket.

Easter Eggs, Multicoloured, Basket, Grass, Garden

On the day before Easter, my mother would boil a big pot of eggs. After they cooled just a bit, she would make cups of dye with vinegar, food dye, and hot water, and we would color the eggs soft, muted Robin’s egg blue, pale strawberry pink, minty lime green, a hint of purple, sherbert orange, and a whisper of golden yellow.

Easter, Eggs, Basket, Hunt, Girl, Holiday, Spring

As I said before, we would hunt for the eggs the next day [the real eggs and not plastic wannabees]. Afterward, we would be stuck with tons of eggs that were half mangled. If we dared to remove the shells, we would discover that the eggs had discolored yolks.

My mother was frugal. My precious Easter eggs would invariably begin to disappear. It took a few years, but I eventually realized that the deviled eggs and the potato salad that we ate for lunch were what had become of many of them. Of course, there was always the phantom Easter egg that would show up two weeks later–smelling like toxic waste.

One year, my family did not celebrate Easter at home. Rather, we drove for what seemed like hours and had Easter with my mom’s aunt. It is interesting that when we went to visit my mother’s aunt, my mother bought me a brand new Easter dress, and it was lavender. It was cold, and I wore my dress to church with no coat. History does repeat itself. We do the same things over and over again. That is how we find home.

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time – Joni Mitchell, The Circle Game

My mother’s family were staunch Baptists. When we went to my great aunt’s house for Easter, we went to church at another [but somehow the same] Baptist Church. We sang the same hymns: Up from the Grave, He Arose..

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
and He lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

When I was a child, Christ did arise again and again every Easter day, and we celebrated him with baskets of pastel Easter eggs, clover chains, and real coconut cake, topped with flakes of green coconut and jelly beans.

I was re-watching the HBO series Girls again today, and on Season 3, Episode 9, Hannah went home to visit her dying grandmother. Her mother and dysfunctional aunts gathered around the old matriarch, and as everyone left, one of them stumbled into saying  that they all needed to get back together and have an old-fashioned Easter the next year.

At first, those words flew past me, and then, I thought about it. Easter was different years ago. I believe that many of us miss the simplicity and the goodness of many of the customs that we have left behind. I also wish that we could all get together for an old-fashioned Easter again, but I have sadly have resigned myself to the fact that those days are gone.

No one in Hannah’s family really intended to try to get together for the next Easter the next year, but they all nodded their heads.

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game – Joni Mitchell, The Circle Game

©Jacki Kellum 29, 2016




Thoughts On Leaving and Not Leaving Home – for Mom on Mother’s Day


Thoughts On Leaving and Not Leaving Home
for My Mother and Dad, Hank and Laura Mae Baker

I am a free spirit stuffed between two task-oriented and productive women–my mother and my daughter. As some of you know, the main objective of my blog is to collect enough honey to eventually write my memoir. This weekend, I heard from my mother, who will be 90 in December. She essentially said: I have been reading your blog. It seems tasteful to me. But I wonder, Are you ever going to do anything with it? To be honest, I probably will not.

My mother knows me. That is the agony and ecstasy of mothers and daughters. We know each other far too well.

Growing up, some of us girls go through several stages of loving, denying the existence of, and learning to re-love our mothers. In reality, it actually wasn’t our mothers who fell in and out of grace with us during that time, it is we who were struggling with ourselves. But that is the fodder for another post.

When I went through my divorce, an enormous amount of anger was flashed from both my would-be ex-husband and me. Later, I realized that getting mad at is part of the recipe for letting go. I think that is what happens with mothers and daughters. Mothers and daughters are often nearly alike and most of us were very close to our moms for many, many years. Suddenly, it is time to walk alone. A lot of emotional turmoil becomes part of the exit scene. Many of us spin through free-fall for a number of years. Some of us never land on our feet. Some do not want to ever go back home again. [I am not speaking about a physical home; I am talking about a sense of your childhood–within your adult self].

I have realized that although I live thousands of miles away from my mom now–from my childhood homeplace, in many ways, I never really left home at all. By that, I mean that I have not tried to erase my roots.


Oh, How I Love Dolly Parton!

Her Net Worth is $450 Million Now and She Never Quit Being Dolly!
She Never Denied Her Roots

Yesterday, I found a video where Dolly Parton talks about leaving and still loving part of her youth. The entire message of the video speaks volumes to me. I share it at the end of this post.


When I was a little girl, my grandfather was the manager of the IGA, which for many years was the biggest drawing business in my entire area. For a while, he had Porter Wagoner come from Nashville, Tennessee, to perform in his store in the Bootheel town of Gideon, MO. During those years, Dolly Parton was a young, unknown country girl, who sang a couple of songs and advertised the kitchen towels  or the dishes that were being sold, along with a large box of Breeze. I remember the whole thing like it was last year.

Things have changed for Dolly Parton since then, but Dolly did not change with those things. She is still Dolly Parton.

Just the other day, I was listening to one of her live performances, and after she sang, some redneck hollered from the floor, “Dolly, I love you.”

Totally unscripted and not actually meant to be caught on the recording, Dolly responded–only taken a little aback, “Well, I love you, too. But honey, I told you to stay out in the truck.”

Perfect Response! Perfectly Real and Genuine Dolly Parton Response

The ushers didn’t come and shush the guy. Dolly had it under control, and she never went out of character to handle it.

Dolly Parton is a natural delight. She is a Great American Treasure. She is a Hallelujah Choir for the honest, everyday, down-to-earth country folks from the South. Thank you, Dolly Parton.

In the video that I found of Dolly, she talks about the period that she worked with Porter Waggoner and how she had to leave his show but how she would always love him.

In the same way, I will always honor Dolly Parton for daring to remain true to herself, and I will always love my mom, my hometown, and my dad [who died at the age of 92–I hope that he can hear me now].

©Jacki Kellum April 29, 2016 – For My Mom on Mother’s Day

For any who have joined my blog late, please read the things that my own mom wrote a few years ago. My first goal, MOM, is to get your book published. Keep on my back about that. Lol! [Lots of Love].

What My Mother Said posts Here

Let’s Bend the Rules: Let’s Wear Our Pajamas All Day Long

Christmas Kids, Cookies And Milk, Christmas, Xmas

For a little extra change and to help fund my freedom from the traditional job, I carpool some children. This morning, I arrived at the children’s house, and the little boy was so excited to see me that he burst out of his house like Superman. Then, he jumped into the back of jmy car. [That’s another reason that I drive children to school. Their enthusiasm helps fuel my own energy].

In his excitement, the little boy had forgotten his bookbag. He ran back inside and I tried to keep up with him. While inside, the little boy flung open his jacket and asked me how I liked his shirt [it was a Ninja Turtle shirt]. I said that I loved it. Then, he confessed that he had worn his shirt to bed the night before. I had to confess that I had done the same thing. There I stood in my pajama top, wearing my Uggs house shoes, no makeup was on my face, and I was at my job. [That’s another reason that I drive children to school].

I told the little boy that it was okay for him to wear his pajama top to preschool, and I thought to myself: “If only the world could get that message.” A lot of things are okay that the world has pinpointed as “against the rules.”

When we got to the little boy’s daycare [not actually a school], the little boy tried flashing his shirt to his best friend. The other little boy said, “I have that same shirt. It is pajamas.”

The little boy’s face dropped and he looked at me. I smiled and told him that it was okay. “Have a great, great day.”

After all, who died and made that other kid Chief of the Fashion Police?

And there you have it: a real life episode of the continuing saga of those who follow the rules and those who curve around them.

For many, many years, I dressed to impress, but in the 1960s, I became a bra burner. Speaking of curving around the rules: after years of hanging loose, my curves are everywhere now, except where I need to bind them tightly. I don’t even think that I could gather it all up and stuff it neatly into a bra now. Besides, I simply will not go back to the days of corsets and Maidenform’s. In fact, I don’t even own a real bra now. I have a few sports bras, but I don’t have anything that makes me uncomfortable. Why should I have?

arnica-lupine-2 Many years ago, I realized that I only have one life to live. Why should I live it all up tight. I just let things flow. You see it in my art.


You see it in my garden.

You see it in the clothes that I elect to wear out loud. And if I take off my over shirt, you will see it in my lack of a bra.

Try it! Bend the Rules! Wear Your Pajamas All Day Long! And Breathe!

©Jacki Kellum [the Pajama Mama April 29, 2016


Girls Season 3 – Songs and Summaries

As Season 3 begins, Hannah and Adam have somehow magically gotten back together. I am glad that they fixed that relationship between the seasons, I was getting whiplash from all of the partner changing.

Because Marnie’s mother has joined the team, her life has become infinitely more difficult. You’ve gotta love it – a Lindsey-Waggoner-Marnie mom trying to control her Marnie-child’s life.

Jessa is still in a dead-end dishwashing job and in her spare time, she does rehab–that is, she is in rehab until she breaks enough rules to get herself kicked out!

Episode 2

As episode 2  begins, Hannah, Shoshanna, and Adam take the time, spend the money, rent a car, and begin the long drive to pick up Jessa, who has been kicked out of rehab. When we realize that their effort is the result of typical Jessa manipulation. Jessa didn’t actually need a ride.

“It made me remember what it was like in college when you’d say, ‘Oh, meet me at the Free Palestine party,’ then I’d find out you’re over at the Israel house. And so I just wish you would get it that this is not ok behavior for a friend.” – Hannah to Jessa

As the episode progresses, however, we realize that Hannah’s motives for making the trip aren’t exactly selfless. She had actually only agreed to the effort because she thought that she could pull a piece of marketable writing from it.

This kind of finger-pointing and projection–pointing [pot calling the kettle black] happens continually in the series Girls.

Episode 3

Adam’s out-of-control sister Caroline appears in Episode 3, and narcissistic Marnie is making music videos of herself now.

Meanwhile, Hannah is making plans for her 25th birthday party. Her parents make the scene for that. When Hannah thanks Marnie for throwing the party, Marnie shares a real truth, “…and I’ll have a bunch of birthday pictures to post on Instagram.”

And of course, Marnie, with her Disney-Princess Voice and her Dream of being a star on Broadway, wants to sing for the crowd.

Take Me Baby from Rent

I’d Rather Dance with You

After the party, Adam and Hannah return to their apartment, hoping for the perfect, Romantic ending for the day. But like the shower scene from Psycho, Hannah opens the door and sees Crazy Caroline standing there, half naked.

Adam comments, “She won.”

Episode 4

As Episode 4 begins, we learn that Hannah’s editor, who had given her an E-book deal, has died.

Sleigh Bells

As Hannah begins to tell Adam and Marnie about her editor’s dying, we are allowed to believe–just for a moment–that she cared. And then, she continued, saying that she has no idea what will come of her ebook. Even Adam, her Neanderthal boyfriend, is shocked. He tells Hannah that he is afraid of how little she would feel if he died.  Hannah responded that she would be extremely sad and that she would wonder how she would pay the rent.

Adam said that if Hannah died, his world would blur and he would no longer be able to recognize a tree. [Now, who’s the Neanderthal?]

Later, she told Ray that she felt nothing about her editor’s death.

Ray responded:
“Hannah, why don’t you place just one crumb of basic human compassion on this fat-free muffin of sociopathic detachment? See how it tastes.”

One Last by Avi Buffalo

When Hannah is unable to convince Adam [or herself] that she actually cares about her editor’s death, she relays a made-up story.

Jessa learns that one of her old “friends” had faked her death to get away from her:

Episode 5

As Episode 5 opens, Hannah and Adam go to her editor’s funeral and she allows the editor’s wife to perceive that her only concern about the death is that her e-book will not be published. In Season 3, we see Hannah at her most narcissistic.

Another editor offers Hannah an actual book deal for the material she had written for the other editor’s e-book; and then she is smacked with the reality that the other publishing house still has the rights to her work–even though they don’t intend to print it.

Marnie asks Ray what he thinks is wrong with her, and he essentially lets her have it:
“You come across like you’re better than everyone and you want no part of their lives, but then when you’re excluded from things, you’re outrageously offended and hold onto this grudge. You’re unbearably uptight. You use people. You use people a lot. So much so that even when you try to connect and be sincere, it comes across as phony. In a nutshell, you’re a huge fat fucking phony. I still like you. I think you mean well and I’m old enough to recognize that all this bullshit comes from a deep, dank, dark, toxic well of insecurity, probably created by your absent father. That allows you to be a sympathetic character.” Ray to Marnie

She responded, “Go fuck yourself. Like I’d advertise this!”

When Hannah does not get the kind of support that she wants from Caroline, she kicks her out:

“Fucking selfish little whore. You and my brother deserve one another, you know that, you selfish little pricks? And you will never write a thing that matters because you will never understand the true struggles of humanity because you just slipped right outta your mother’s pussy, like a nice little golden egg, you spoiled little fucking brat.” – Caroline about Hannah

Episode 6

As Episode 6 begins, Hannah loses yet another job and takes another one at GQ. That is too commercial for her. She is not hesitant about letting all the writers there know that she does not intend to sell out. When she asks them if they have continued to pursue their actual writing, she discovers that none of them are. That alarms her.

Hannah voices her concerns to her boss and resolves to herself that she will go home and write every night and will write all weekend, too. When she goes home, however, she is too tired to do that and falls asleep.

Episode 7

In this episode, Marnie has made plans for the group to vacation together at a Beach House in the Hamptons. As usual, Marnie likes to maintain absolute control and has even assigned the girls to their rooms. As Ray said in Episode 6, Marnie is uptight, and she becomes very uncomfortable any time that she sacrifices any control at all.

Coincidentally, Hannah’s college boyfriend Elijah and his  friends are also in the Hamptons at the same time. When the guys crash Marnie’s beach house party, she becomes visibly agitated. Marnie has no ability to hang loose.

One of the guys is a Broadway dancer, and he teaches the group a dance routine. That is fun.

Dance Routine

The dance looked almost perfect, but Marnie cannot accept almost perfect–she begins to say that the routine could use some improvement, and Hannah argues that they are not trying to get on Broadway. This becomes another opportunity for finger-pointing and hatemongering, and Shoshanna delivers one of her few truly caustic remarks:

“You’re such a fucking narcissist. Seriously, I have never met anyone who thinks their life is so fucking fascinating. I wanted to fall asleep in my own vomit all day listening to you talk about how you bruise more easily than other people.” Shoshanna about Hannah

Hannah is repeatedly called narcissistic in this series. I think that this is a good case of pots calling a kettle black. All of these girls are narcissistic.

This seems to be Shoshanna’s night to unload. She follows the above comment with the following:

 “You guys never listen to me. You treat me like I’m a fucking cab driver. Seriously, you have entire conversations in front of me like I’m invisible. And sometimes I wonder if my social anxiety is holding me back from meeting the people who would be actually right for me instead of a bunch of fucking whiny nothings as friends.” – Shoshanna about the other girls.

After that remark, Shoshanna tells Marnie that she tormented by self-doubt and fear. [In my opinion, that is the source of most narcissism.

Marnie tells Hannah [supposedly her best friend] that all she has ever done is disappoint her.

Hannah replies, “Well, then, maybe you should lower your expectations.”

Marnie answers, “I can’t lower them any further.”

Hannah: Then maybe you should do what  I do. I don’t expect anything from any of you.

Even the guys attack each other. The Beach Party was a fiasco.

During the very final scene, all of the girls were waiting to be ferried home, and one by one, they begin to silently do the motions of their Broadway routine. It seemed to be saying that their relationships had been reduced to that of going through the motions.

Episode 8

As Episode 8 begins, Hannah is at a restaurant waiting to interview someone. When the waitress asks Hannah if she wants to order, Hannah says that she is waiting–and then to explain her own importance, she says that she is waiting to interview Patti Lupone. The waitress is unimpressed, saying that she doesn’t know Patti Lupone. Hannah is aghast, trying to explain that Patti Lupone is the person who had sung Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina on Broadway. The waitress is still unimpressed. This scene allows us to observe the dramatic dream world where Hannah [and also Marnie live.I hate to admit it, but I am right there with Hannah and Marnie.

While still waiting, Hannah gets a call from Adam, who has waiting at a call-back for a Broadway part. When Adam tells Hannah that everyone else who has waiting has had a nose job, we get another glimpse into the type of person who spends their lives waiting in rooms for Broadway call-backs, and in the same way, we see that Adam, although he has other problems, is not that kind of person. It is in this room that we meet Desi, who will become important later in the series. The interesting thing is that Patti Lupone fails to show and Adam gets the Broadway part, but Desi gets his part, too.

Hannah tracks Patti Lupone down and begins to question her. It seems that Patti has agreed to be a spokesperson for Osteoporosis. When she admits to Hannah that she does not actually have the disease, Hannah simply changes the facts and makes it seem that she does–simply to make her own story better.

Hannah gets her first paycheck from her job at GQ and cannot believe how much money that she is being paid. She goes shopping.


A man who she met in rehab visits Jessa at her job, where she is merely working in a children’s clothing store. The guy tells Jessa that he knows that this job isn’t her and tries to convince her to run away with him. Jessa tells the guy that she isn’t even attracted to him. She says, “No, I was wearing rehab goggles.”

Desi goes home with Adam and meets the gang. When he begins to tell the group his story, everyone is fascinated but Hannah. She seems to be bored by the fact that the spotlight is no longer on her. Marnie is not there yet, but by the time she gets there, Desi is singing for the group.Hannah is still bored, but Marnie, who wants to be a singer, joins the singing.

Desi and Marnie sing Roll On. Hannah is appalled, and Elijah says that he hates himself for loving Desi so much, but it is Marnie who catches Desi’s attention [sort of].

It would seem that Jessa does run away with the guy from rehab. They show up at the gathering, and they both seem to be high. Hannah remarks that maybe they shoudn’t have taken Jessa out of rehab.

Shoshanna attempts to have a conversation with the man:

“I swear to God, sometimes I feel like I am in ‘The Truman Show,’ but it’s like really a walking American Apparel ad and I don’t even know it!” – Shoshanna

As Episode 8 ends, Hannah and Adam are blissfully bathing in the tub. It is the calm before another storm.

Episode 9

In Episode 9, Hannah goes home to visit her dying grandmother. The dynamics of the sisters [including Hannah’s mother] is interested. There is a long-suffering caretaker, whose motives are questionable. There is also the “strong” aunt who reminds everyone that she has to be the strength of the group. She is also the “perfect” aunt who has the “perfect” daughter,  who wrecked the car. Naturally, the “perfect” aunt had to blame Hannah for that. And then, there is the other lie.

For some reason, Hannah’s mom wants Hannah to lie and say that she and Adam are engaged. I think that was simply making the point that none of us grow “up” enough that we quit wanting to please our mothers.

And then, like peasants at a tag sale, the adult sisters begin to squabble over what will remain, after the grandmother dies.

We know them all. Hail! Hail! The gang’s all there!

As everyone began saying goodbye, the longsuffereing sister said that they all needed to get back together and have an old-fashioned Easter next year.

Episode 10

During Episode 10, we experience what Patti Lupone had predicted in Episode 8–that Adam would become consumed with his rehearsals on Broadway, and that Hannah’s relationship with him would suffer.

I Don’t Wanna BreakHannah decides to do some things to make herself more attractive to Adam

Hannah decides to do some things to make herself more attractive to Adam

Baby, It’s You

At first, Hannah’s sexual role-playing game seems to work, but Adam doesn’t completely swallow the bait. In fact, it seems to turn him completely off, and that is the beginning of the end for the couple. Adam says that he cannot deal with the drama while rehearsing for Broadway. He moves out to live in Ray’s apartment.


Episode 11

As Episode 11 begins, Hannah is still trying to lure Adam back into her apartment; Desi and Marnie and writing songs together, and Jessa is trying to get off the drugs again.

Bad Girl

Hannah and Elijah go to visit Patti Lupone and her husband.

Hannah is totally bored with her job, “This is all bullshit.”

To her co-worker, who began as a poet, she asked, “When are you going to quit calling yourself a poet and call yourself a former poet.” Since taking his cushy job at GQ, Keven had not written a single poem.

Hannah asks the group if she is the only one who prouds herself on being an authentic person. Ultimately, she is fired from GQ. Hannah, who had been afraid of being left behind by the others around her, who seemed to be soaring ahead, went out with Adam and his theater friends  and announced that she had manged to get fired. She admitted that she wanted that– to be able to draw unemployemnt.

Marnie had landed a gallery job, and Jessa came to visit her there. In doing so, she met an older lady photographer who immediately hired her to do archival work for her.

Marnie and Desi make their first real performance at an Open Mic gig, singing Bet On Me.

Bet On Me

Marnie had been falling for Desi and she had not bet on the fact that Desi’s real girlfriend would come to the performance. Once more, Marnie defaulted to Ray. Marnie has a tragic habit of sleeping with other people’s boyfriends. She slept with Hannah’s former, long-time boyfriend Elijah, and Ray was Shoshanna’s first lover. During Episode 12, Marnie drops her Ray affair on Shoshanna, who is devestated. Marnie likes to call the other girls her best friends, but her loyalty to them runs thin.

Later that evening, Hannah accidentally walks in and sees that Marnie is making love to Ray and Hannah tells Marnie that she should never judge her [Hannah] again.

Episode 12

Adam’s psycho sister returns for Episode 12. She announces to Hannah that she is having a baby.

We discover that Jessa’s new employer actually wants her to get the necessary drugs to assist her with her own mercy suicide. At the final moment [after the drugs were administered], the old photographer decides that she no longer wants to commit suicide.

Hannah receives a leter saying that she has gotten into the Iowa Graduate School in Writing. Although Adam was still rooming with Ray, he and Hannah were technically still a couple. In the dressing room before Adam’s opening night on Broadway, Hannah tells Adam that she had been accepted to the graduate program. Adam believes that the news of Hannah’s leaving causes him to perform poorlly, and he tells her that he is tired of trying to work things out with her.

When Hannah returns to her apartment alone, she looks  at her acceptance papers to graduate shool, and she is elated that she will be attending.



Learning to Be Alone Is How We Learn to Be Together

Car, Divorce, The Netherlands, Joke, Funny

Have you ever suffered through something that you initially thought was a travesty and later realized that it may not have been as bad as you thought? That is the way that I have come to feel about my divorce.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not advocate divorce. In fact, I think that divorce is the American scourge that will ultimately be the ruin of this nation. Generations of people are destroyed by each solitary divorce and anyone who cannot admit this is ensnared in his own Denial. As generations of wounded  people have evolved to take the reins of our country, the USA falls deeper and deeper into a dark abyss. I could write volumes about this, but that is not my purpose today. Rather, I want to focus on the best way to avoid divorce entirely.

Divorce, Separation, Marriage Breakup, Split, Argument

For the moment, suffice it to say that I do not condone divorce, but for those of us who rushed into marriage, it may have been unavoidable. [I do not actually believe that either].

The best plan, however, is to WAIT before you marry–Wait until you learn to be alone. 

Live Concert, Dance Club, Disco, Laser, Laser Show

About the time that I divorced, someone recommended to me that I read the book Dancing As Fast As I Can. It is about a person who did it all, sped into success, and ultimately crashed and burned. Dancing too fast should be classified as a syndrome. In my opinion, it is the manifestation of people who will do just about anything to avoid themselves.

When I was young, rushing into marriage was one of those ways.

I recently wrote a post about how incredibly insightful that I think the HBO series Girls is. It is about a group of recent college graduates who have been spit out of a system and into the freefall of trying to find themselves.

There are a couple of tragic marriages along the way, but for the most part, the girls do not marry in the series. They simply streak from one relationship to another. It is obvious that the goal is the same as that of my early marriage: Avoid Being Alone!

In Season 1, Episode 3 of Girls, the song Same Mistakes was played.

Same Mistakes–Continuing to Do the Same Things to Avoid.

Unfortunately, one of the worst of our mistakes is that of trying to avoid Solitude.

All men’s misfortunes spring from their hatred of being alone. – Jean de la Bruyere

Sunrise, Morning, Landscape, Summer, Outdoor, Natural

Earlier this week, I also wrote a post about the importance of becoming still and of listening to the small, quiet whispers that are the emissions of our spirits–the utterances of our intuitions. Here

None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone. – Thomas Carlyle

On an intellectual level, I think that we all understand that the true path inward is a solitary one. Yet, we waste years and even lives floundering around–dancing too fast, talking too loud, falling into too many traps, and missing the most simple goal of all.

The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. – Henrik Ibsen

As I have begun to analyze the series Girls, I have realized that I identify with the mistakes that are being made by at least three of the four girls involved. Jessa is my inner wild, hippy, Bourgeoise, Flower Child. She does some of the most ridiculously impulsive and dangerous things of any of the girls on the show. Among other things, she has an affair with the father of the children that she babysits. In Episode 9 of Season 1, the wife of the man involved gently tries to discuss the issue with Jessa:

“I bet you get into these dramas all of the time, where you cause all of this trouble and you don’t know why….In my opinion, you’re doing it to distract yourself from becoming the person you’re meant to be.” Katherine to Jessa

Stop, Shield, Traffic Sign, Road Sign, Attention

Distracting Ourselves from Who We Are Supposed to Be

I have written several posts about Denial. Denial is one way that we distract ourselves from who we actually are. Today, I am adding another term to the toxic cocktail: Avoidance.

In a way, Avoidance is a cousin of Denial–or perhaps it is Denial’s ugly stepchild. It is the things that we do that mire us in the quicksand of not becoming who we might be.

We need to learn to STOP! and to FEEL! And the first step toward learning to feel is that of learning to be alone.

There’s a tremendous difference between alone and lonely. You could be lonely in a group of people. I like being alone. I like eating by myself. I go home at night and just watch a movie or hang out with my dog. I have to exert myself and really say, oh God, I’ve got to see my friends ’cause I’m too content being by myself. – Drew Barrymore

©Jacki Kellum April 28, 2016


Let’s Burn Our Masks!

Carnival, Venice, Carnival Of Venice, Masks, Italy

“Let’s burn our masks at midnight
and as flickering flames ascend,
under the witness of star-clouds,
let us vow to reclaim our true selves.
Done with hiding and weary of lying,
we’ll reconcile without and within.
Then, like naked squint-eyed newborns,
we’ll greet the glorious birth of dawn;
blinking at the blazing, wondrous colors
we somehow failed to notice before.”
― John Mark Green

This very morning, I had the rare treat of having an honest conversation with one of the few people that I know who does not seem to be wearing a mask. I said to her that fake people bore me, and then, I came home to see what today’s blog topic would be–and it is “Mask.”

Although I have written several blog posts about manifestations of the mask wearers–their tendencies toward denial, their insensitivities to the needs of others, their narcissisms, etc., I am not sure that I have ever simply written about masks; yet, I feel sure that the People of the Lie [as Scott Peck calls them] began by simply putting on a false face–and then, the falseness became the face.

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

The problem with mask wearers is that they spend an inordinate amount of time looking around, trying to decide what and who are not offensive. Because mask wearers are always looking at others, to find the best masks, they cease to look within. Most people wear masks now, and most of what the person looking outward sees is others who are looking outward themselves. Everything becomes superficial–shells of people model themselves after other shells of people. In no time at all, the mask wearer loses sight of what is real–of what is authentic.

 “Opinion’s but a fool, that makes us scan the outward habit by the inward man.”
― William Shakespeare, Pericles

Kierkegaard says that there will eventually come a time when everyone will be forced to remove their masks:

“Don’t you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
― Søren Kierkegaard

That thought is very much like the concept that eventually everyone will see their mistakes toward others and will swing back around, righting their wrongs. I believed that myth at one time, but people have hurt me who I know will never care to rethink their actions. I am quite sure that I will die and there will be many fences that were never mended and many gates will remain locked. In that same way, I am quite sure that I know many who will never remove their masks. Some people have been masked for such a long time that I am not sure that they still can remove them.

“We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.” – Patrick Rothfuss

Cobweb, Dewdrop, Network, Dew, Morgentau, Nature, Close

Oh, What A Dangerous Web We Weave When First We Practice to Deceive–Ourselves!

The true tragedy is that mask wearers opt to function with blinders on. As they are scrutinizing themselves lest anything offensive remains there, they begin to remove anything that is unique and colorful, too. “They throw away the baby with the bath water.”

“She did not know yet how sometimes people keep parts of themselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often brave or wild or colorful parts, cunning or powerful or even marvelous, beautiful parts, just locked up away at the bottom of their hearts. They do this because they are afraid of the world and of being stared at, or relied upon to do feats of bravery or boldness. And all of those brave and wild and cunning and marvelous and beautiful parts they hid away and left in the dark to grow strange mushrooms—and yes, sometimes those wicked and unkind parts, too—end up in their shadow.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

Eye, Blue, Vision, Iris, Futuristic

The Mask

“She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by-
And never knew.” – Shel Silverstein

©Jacki Kellum April 27, 2015


The Crossroads Is the Place Where We Might Catch Glimpses of the Road Less Traveled

The Crossroads Is the Place Where We Might Catch Glimpses of the Road Less Traveled.
What We Do After That, Defines Us!

When I was 18-years-old, I moved to Mississippi and began college at the Univerity of Mississippi. After college, I lived in Mississippi 35 more years. At this point in my life, I have lived longer in Mississippi than anywhere else, but after my house burned there, I moved to the New Jersey Shore.

While I was in Mississippi, I thought that I would never leave there–that I would die and be buried there, but my circumstances changed. Now, I realize that my time in Mississippi was only My Crossroads.

When I saw today’s post title Crossroads, I immediately remembered the Crossroads scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou. That movie was filmed close to my home in Mississippi, and this scene shows us a car filled with people who are at a Crossroads, a juncture between two phases of their lives.

Yesterday, I wrote a review of the HBO series Girls, which is a comedic drama that deals with the crossroads that a group of recent graduates has reached.

I had avoided this series for quite some time. It had appeared to me that the drama would be another desperate dose of Jersey Shore with Snookie and her friends. I didn’t see anything else to watch this weekend, and by default, I settled on Girls. In doing so, I discovered a treat. After an episode or two, I was hooked on the series and binge-watched all five seasons in two days.

 I have written several posts about the Romantic ideal of youth. William Blake and several other Romanticists were proponents of youthful innocence, as opposed to the disenchantment of adults. The HBO Series Girls focuses on a group of recent college grads who are beginning to deal with the disappointments that invariably accompany the young adult’s journey into adulthood.

By the end of season five, it appeared that the main character Hannah Horvath, played by Lena Dunham, will have the good fortune of making a successful passage into the person that she had wanted to become. I am not so very sure about the other girls in the series. I have read that there will only be one more season of Girls, and I fear that some of Hannah’s friends will not make the crossing as successfully as she.

It’s hard to tell someone so young that things don’t always end up the way you thought they’d be. – Ray of the series Girls

One of the nice things about the series Girls is that it is lightly comedic.

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything. – Kurt Vonnegut

Generally speaking, I do not like comedy; and as I said before, Girls is light comedy. Beneath that bit of lightness, the series speaks several truths–some of them are quite depressing.

No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing someone’s gonna think of to say about me, I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour!-Hannah

In some ways, Hannah comes across as a happy, carefree person; but in other ways, we are allowed to see that she is anxious, self-conscious, and afraid of failure.

At the beginning of the series, Hannah is totally dependent upon her parents for both monetary and emotional support. She is still a child. By the end of season five, Hannah has fallen several times and has somehow managed to land on her feet–not because of her parents’ support, but in spite of it. Several things seem to indicate that Hannah has begun to journey down the Road Less Traveled–into her authentic self.

Marnie is one of the other girls in the series. While stumbling around on her own crossroads, Marnie slips into a marriage–it would seem by default. Naturally, the marriage does not work.

 Marnie: I don’t want to be married to you. It’s not even your fault. I mean, yeah, you’re an asshole, but it’s really not your fault. I just… I knew I shouldn’t have married you. I just didn’t want to give up on yet another dream.
Desi: What are you talking about?
Marnie: I just don’t know who I am right now. I’m like a ghost of myself. I don’t know what I’m doing here or anywhere else. But I don’t want to be married to you.

Marnie’s mistake is that of trading one type of dependency for another–a crippling type of marriage. By the end of season five, Marnie gets a glimpse of the realization that being hooked at the hip to someone else is not really what she needed–at least not what she needed at that time. For a short while, Marnie seems to realize that she needs to learn to walk alone before she marries.

Look, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I think I knew we were going to get divorced before we even got married. I was just really scared of what it was that I knew that I needed. I think that what I need is to be… Alone. – Marnie on Girls Series

At the end of season five, Hannah is shown walking alone down a path. She is excited about the journey that she has begun and begins to jog into the camera’s close focus. She is happy. Along the way, Hannah had discovered that her parents were not perfect and that her best move was beyond them–also Alone, for now.

None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone. – Thomas Carlyle

At the end of the season, Black Hole plays.

While Marnie immediately slips into yet another co-dependent relationship by the end of season five, Hannah is truly Alone and there is “nowhere else that she wants to be — Alone on a Bicycle Built for Two” – Black Hole.

The music of the series Girls is incredible and significant to understanding what is going on. As I said before, I detest comedy. The light comedy of this series is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down, but Girls is more than comedy. On a whole, Girls is not dark, but it is penetrating. Like the song Anchors Aweigh, it is a labyrinth–a journey in itself.

It is not immediately clear what Michael Penn was saying in every stanza of his haunting song Anchors Aweigh, but the final lines of the traditional Anchors Aweigh summarize the essence of the series Girls:

Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.
Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam, Until we meet once more.
Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home

As I said before, the series Girls is about the crossroads of four girls who have graduated from college. It is the time between their youths and what they will become. To confirm that this is merely the story of the crossroads period, we have been told that season six will end the series. The series has no intention of following these girls into adulthood. The jury is still out on whether or not all of the girls will make it “Home” during the remaining season, but Hannah seems to be headed in the right direction. She seems to be pursuing her own dream and to be doing so on her own terms. She has learned that before she can be part of a team, she has to be herself. She has begun walking along the Road Less Traveled.

See more of my observations about the series Girls Here


See more about the Road Less Traveled Here

©Jacki Kellum April 26, 2016