Shopping For Resurrection

For Writer’s Island prompt #12  reunion
http://writersisland.wordpress.com/

Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection.

__Arthur Schopenhauer

I have a real thing about words, if you haven’t noticed. Love playing with them, tearing them apart, following them just to see where it all might end. But then, there are certain words that turn me off or, make me want to turn away in outright rejection. Although I have written about that reality, I have come to understand that the ones that turn me off are often the very avenues I need to explore a bit further, opening myself up to what lies behind that decidedly negative emotional response.

I did that a few weeks ago (right here), and ended up with a rather pleasant short fiction story that was fun to write, and surprised me more than anyone who might have read it.  That was a phrase, not just one word. And I knew, when I saw it, that I simply didn’t want to travel down paths that I had already written about. Once I changed the common context of the phrase, I was off on a brand new adventure. One I thoroughly enjoyed.

I am beginning to think that the prompter of the Writer’s Island prompts, has somehow gotten into my skull and found all those taboo words that bring on a blank spaced expression to my face, or a decidedly turned away shoulder. But these prompts have been such a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration that I’ve taken to glancing back over that turned away shelf of flat hard rock I-don’t-want-to-do-this response.

So, today I went shopping. Not in any retail establishment, I don’t go there unless I must, and for very different reasons. I can’t afford it. When I saw the word reunion, I bulked, went blank and all of my thoughts turned a particularly dead shade of gray.

This isn’t a taboo word, the kind that one forbids oneself from ever even thinking about. For me, it’s more innocuous, lacking stimulation or interest. Thus the dull gray reaction. But, reaction is a very interesting word, one that means going back, revisiting something experienced or felt in the past. Actually a bit like a reunion of sorts. A re-meeting with a feeling response that one has already been through, and depending on that original experience, one acts in accordance with either pleasure or something more negative.

Reaction precludes deliberate choice of action. In other words, the reaction steps in before one can actually decide to act in a different or new manner. And, because I don’t like, what I refer to as a gag response, I went shopping  in the Dictionary and the Thesaurus. I was looking for another way to see and think about the word itself, searching for a new pair of jeans because the old ones had holes in them and big gray stains.

I found something: the quote which begins this essay. I like the word resurrection. It speaks of life brought back, renewed and changed. But, it also made me recognize some of the reasons for my not so kind reaction to the word reunion. There are definitely places in my life I would prefer never be resurrected. I think all of us have those types of places or periods within our memories.

The most common reunions are those of family and of high school. I’ve done both and had mixed revues. I and a cousin, in the course of an evening over drinks, decided to host a family reunion several years ago. It seemed like a really good idea at the time, but many ideas hatched over a few drinks seem that way, don’t they?

What it was, was a hell of a lot of work. Our grandparents had nine children and those nine children were not at all shy about reproducing. We ended up renting a park, with pavilion, that was located on the shoreline. It really was great fun. We had people coming from all over the states, games for the kiddies and the adults, a song fest after dark, and one cousin who enthusiastically told me that I “really knew how to throw a hell of a party, and when was I going to do it again?”

My response was, “As soon as I can find three or four fools who want to do all the work, so I can sit back, relax, and enjoy it as much as you did.” I did enjoy it, but…   That same cousin, the one of the evening over drinks, approached me at my Mother’s funeral and asked if I would even consider doing it again. I asked her if she’d found the three or four fools necessary, and said that I’d be more than willing to make suggestions, would certainly attend, and encourage everyone else to do so.

A much younger, perhaps foolish cousin, overheard our conversation and said she’d be very interested in trying it. She didn’t have a drink in her hand, and I’m still waiting for the invitation. It might be a while.

The high school reunion was a different matter. I’d lived away for almost forty years when the invitation arrived for my 45th reunion. I was back in the city of my birth, had no contacts other than family, and would have to attend alone. Daunting? Yes, but I decided I had to start somewhere. I went, only vaguely recognized faces that had melted just as much as my own. Was reintroduced to several people, enjoyed the dinner and loved the music, but left early.

Our class was a large one and the last to graduate in the school auditorium. The Reunion committee had hit upon a different sense of reunion. To grease the wheels, they offered a casual get-together every six months in a local restaurant, and had been doing it for a number of years. I decided to attend that more casual affair as well. And what I found was the same sort of cliques that were alive in high school. Cliques I had avoided while a teen-ager, crossing boundaries as it suited me and largely at whim.

Arriving at the restaurant, I watched those groups coalesce, smiles or nods only to those outside of one’s own group, and the left-overs, like me. There is another casual gathering coming up in two months and I have yet to decide if I will actually attend, or opt for one of the poetry groups that meet at the library or a local cafe. But then there is also the local extension of the University I attended. There, I can take classes without tuition because I am a former graduate.

The choices are still mine, but the high school reunions allowed me to get my feet wet and take that first step. That step toward social resurrection, and that’s not a bad idea, nor is it at all a gray one, nor determined by a few drinks. I really like the word resurrection, especially because it means a reunion with a new and different me. A me that would like to thank the Writer’s Island prompter for his prompts. Whew!

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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20 Responses to Shopping For Resurrection

  1. Mary says:

    I like the idea of ‘resurrection’ rather than ‘reunion’ as you explained it. In fact, I think many of us need to resurrect ourselves sometime and become a new and different person….just for a change! A very nice piece of writing!

    Like

  2. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you Mary, and I like the idea of resurrecting words, letting them be born again, to be used by the renewed me.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  3. pamela says:

    Elizabeth go to the poet’s gathering sounds like fun!
    I love your written thoughts!
    Pamela

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you Pamela, and I particularly like your poetic ones. I haven’t been yet, and have no idea what to expect. But, I’m also very interested in taking classes, because that atmosphere is one I have missed for a long time, and as a matter of fact, was thinking about recently because of the prompts we’ve been doing. The level of the give and take is very similar, just can’t “hear” the laughter and the teasing tone. Maybe I’ll try all of them and find something altogether new and different. That could be fun.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  4. Jingle says:

    what a enlightening reunion post.
    extraordinary things come out of ordinary stuff.
    lovely writing.
    😉

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hi Jingle, and thank you for your comments. I do love to write and often find myself discovering realities I didn’t know existed. That in turn keeps me sniffing after the words. I am definitely a word detective, if there is such a thing, lol.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  5. systematicweasel says:

    The nature of language is often amazing. We can find so many connections in different words with the same meanings. I like where you took this, using reunion to be a resurrection of one’s self. Every now and then, we all need a little resurrecting. I’m too young now for high school reunions, who knows what they’ll be like in the future. Great post!

    -Weasel

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hi Weasel,

      It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I went looking, but when I found the quote (someone I know well used to often spout Schopenhauer to me so my ears popped up),I immediately made several connections and started writing. It’s the difference between that dull gray and an entire palette of varied colors.

      Never complain about being too young for anything. This is your time to put together your own palette for those years, like my present ones, in which you can pick and choose at your liesure. Who knows? You could end up at a reunion with one of my grandchildren, now wouldn’t that be a hoot?

      Elizabeth

      Like

  6. This is an amazing journey selecting the best outfits in the mall of words! I enjoyed your questions, your wariness, and your conclusions! A wonderful piece of writing!

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    • 1sojournal says:

      Hi Gemma, although I hate clothes shopping, it does come in handy for those ‘social’ occasions that do pop up now and then. I’m glad that you enjoyed it, I actually was grinning by the time it was finished, but then had to take a nap. We, of the gray power contingent have to conserve our energies, right? Lol,

      Elizabeth

      Like

  7. anthonynorth says:

    Such a clever and meaningful use of the word, and the idea of resurrection, as you put it, is excellent.

    Like

  8. 1sojournal says:

    Hello Anthony, and thank you for your comments. Secret? The words “clever” and “excellent” are pure sunshine yellow when aimed correctly at other individuals. However, when moi is the target, they have a tendency to turn the entire palette to a rather muddied hue of embarrassment, and this North Wisconsin hillbilly starts digging out the fishing equipment, thinking of very long road trips that might never end. Lucky, aren’t we, that Elizabeth stays close to steady the keel and head us all back to shore, eventually?

    Thank you, again,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  9. I agree; some words are turn-offs, and those are the ones that take us to delightful new places. It’s all about being open to the risks and to straying from that comfortable rut.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hi Susan, glad you came and that you agree. When I first started writing, I would groan at the thought of getting up and going to get the Dictionary (maybe because it was one of those hugo things with small print), but now find it a good friend, available at the click of my mouse in my favorites list. Talk about comfort zones, lol.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  10. vivinfrance says:

    A lovely idea to dissect the idea of reunion/resurrection. Mixed feelings are always more interesting than cast-iron certainty. You are a very interesting person, Elizabeth!

    ViV

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hello Viv, I had to laugh when I read your final comment. Much of my family would find that a rather strange idea, I’m sure. I, on the other hand, thank you profusely and consider it a very high compliment. And I also agree with you: one can only bang away at cast-iron, getting not much more than a dull thud for energy used. Whereas, mixed feelings alway create the fresh soil needed for growth to occur.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  11. tillybud says:

    What an interesting take on the prompt.
    http://thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com

    Like

  12. 1sojournal says:

    tillybud, I am glad you think so, I certainly enjoyed the tangent that led me here. Thanks for stopping and commenting,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  13. rob kistner says:

    Wow ElizaBeth, what a very rich and engaging bit of writing — and such captivating honesty! Here’s to the resurrected you, and you are welcome for the prompts. Without you, the writers who respond, the prompt is just a word/phrase/thought, of minimum consequence. But with you, it is a spark that ignites a flame, that creates a fire of creativity and human dialogue. My simple hope is to be a spark, thank you for being the flame…

    …rob

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Rob, what you have said, reminds me of the last line in my favorite Leonard Cohen song, Joan of Arc…”She suddenly knew that if he was fire, she must be wood.” Thank you, and you are most welcome.

      Elizabeth

      Like

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