Saturday is for Sharing – Jessica Goody

Welcome

Saturday is for Sharing

  Jessica Goody, Author

 July 21, 2018

SCAN is hosted by

Miss Opal & Lynda McKinney Lambert.

If you are NEW to SCAN, we recommend: Just SCAN it!

Guest Author

18_Scan_Saturday_3_Goody_Author Portrait (002)

Jessica Goody

Poet

Contact Jessica at PinnipedPerson@aol.com

Jessica’s first collection of  poetry is

Defense Mechanisms 

a full-length, 115-page  volume

75 poems divided into a 3 sections:

Part 1 – “Being Handicapped”

Part 2 – “Green Sentinels”

Part 3 – “Other Voices”

 

PinnipedPerson@aol.com

Q: Jessica, tell us about how you began to write your first  book.  Please elect one page you have written that sums it all up for our readers. Tell us about that page you selected. 

A: Storytelling influences every aspect of my life. I’m not sure why I gravitated to poetry instead of another type of literature, but I have always loved language and playing with words. When I was eight years old, I told my grandfather that I would dedicate my first book to him–and I kept my promise.

The poems in Defense Mechanisms were written over a nine month period; it took another four years of effort before the book was finally accepted by a publisher in 2016. My second poetry collection, Phoenix, will be released by ‘WordTech Publications’ CW Books in March 2019.

 

 

The opening poem of Defense Mechanisms, “The Mermaid,” is by far the most personal; I call it an allegorical autobiography.

 

The Mermaid

 

The mermaid wears a mask. Tubes drift from

her nostrils, linking her to an oxygen machine.

She relies asthmatically on artificial air, fluid

 

dripping wetly into her nasal passages. The air

she breathes is blue and cool; she cannot adjust

to the smog ashore. They have performed every

 

test, gluing wires to her chest, her tail, her skull.

They have EKG’d her cold-blooded heartbeat, MRI’d

and scanned, her silhouette glowing with radiation.

 

Surgeons in white deftly wield gleaming scalpels.

They have stitched her gills shut, and scraped the

barnacles from her shoulder blades. Round, puckered

 

scars remain, in the spot where earlier that morning,

an angel had her wings removed. You have to stare

to see the scars hidden beneath her Technicolor hair,

 

the ones from when they drained her brain, swollen

with seawater. They will fade eventually, to the color

of a crab carapace, abandoned and bleached by the sun.

 

The orthopedist traces her bone scan with his finger

as he talks: her knees are twisted, kissing instead

of facing forward. Her joints push and tug toward

 

one another in a scissors gait. Removed from the

succoring ocean, her skin is dull and roughened,

her sloughing scales losing their gleam. They plan

 

to surgically remove her tail and outfit her with

prosthetic legs, carving away her aqueous identity.

Out of water, she cannot walk, cannot stand.

 

Dragging along the dun-colored corridor, she

is floppy, uncoordinated, her tail hanging limply

from the wheelchair seat. Draped in the shapeless

 

hospital gown, her previously tangled hair now

shorn, she cannot make them understand that

her body was not made for life on land. They fill

 

her with electricity, with distilled stars. The names

of the pills are elaborate, like the Latin names of

seashells: Thorazine, Lithium, Stelazine, Sertraline.

 

She feels heavy, leaden, like she is floating. It

is not a kind sensation. She is unwilling to be

swept out to their psychopharmalogical sea.

 

She wants to go home. “You do not come from

the sea,” the psychiatrists say. They attempt

to hypnotize the truth out of her, to smear it

 

from her mind, the way the sea smooths away

words scratched into damp sand. “Delusional,”

they say. “Psychotic features represented by

 

hallucinations. She believes she is a mermaid,

a mythological creature.” According to their

files, the manila folders of endless prescriptions

 

and transcripts of talk-therapy sessions, she

does not exist. According to them, she is an

impossibility, a figment. But she must be real,

 

they have seen her, touched her. How long

will they keep her here? She is drifting like

the seasons. Away from the sea, she cannot

 

hear its call, only gaze at the topaz eye of the

changeling moon from her glassless window,

straining towards the ebb and flow of the tide.

 

_____________________

Q: What discourages you most in your writing endeavors? What do you find inspiring about your writing?

 

A: I think the hardest part is getting people interested in what you have to say. Success is about perseverance; stubborn bulldog persistence despite thousands of let-downs, rejections, and wounds to your pride. If you are truly meant to be a writer, or any kind of artist, that is the first thing you must learn. There are plenty of clever, talented people out there who don’t have what it takes, not because their work isn’t good enough, or because they don’t work at it, but because they can’t take the rejection, so they give up. It is never easy, but it is worth it.

 

When someone appreciates my work because they relate to it, having shared the same experiences, it creates a kinship between reader and writer. I believe that well-chosen words are the greatest agents of change; they provide hope to the suffering and clarity to the misguided. Defense Mechanisms provides both, offering its readers glimpses of meaningful lives and exploring what it means to be fully human.

_____________________

Q: Do you have a handicap of some sort? How does that handicap affect your life and what you do? How can you overcome that handicap? What do you want another person to know about this handicap and about you as a writer?

 

A: I have cerebral palsy, and the public perception of disability and the many aspects of living with a handicap are topics I frequently explore in my work. Anyone who struggles with mental health issues or physical challenges will be able to relate to my experiences, because the theme of Defense Mechanisms is Hope–the triumph over pain and trauma and the resilience of the human spirit.

 

I am very used to talking about my issues, and therefore very open about them in my writing. What some people consider depressing, I consider honest, and these topics should not be avoided because of their intensity. My goal is to provide a thought-provoking and inspirational experience for every interested reader, and to help them better understand what it’s like to live with disabilities.

_____________________

Q: Do you have a favorite art museum or gallery that you enjoy visiting? Or, any special exhibition you have attended that was remarkable? What art movement throughout history do you like the best and why?

 

A: I am endlessly fascinated by art, history, and the natural world, and all three deeply influence my writing. I am always inspired by the lives and exploits of artists, like the Beats, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Bloomsbury Group. I love museums, but I don’t have a particular favorite. Since I tend to think in images, a lot of my poetry is inspired by artwork.

 

In Defense Mechanisms, “Stockings” was inspired by the photographer Dorothea Lange’s 1934 portrait “Mended Stockings”. Another ekphrastic poem, “Transcendence”, was inspired by Walker Evans’ WPA photography. My forthcoming collection Phoenix features numerous odes to artists of every stripe–writers, actors, painters and musicians.

_____________________

Q: Do you have a favorite animal? What do you like about it? How is it a totem to you? When did you become aware of that special creature in your life?

A: When I was little and learning to crawl, my grandmother remarked that my movements resembled a baby seal. It’s a story–and a symbol–that has followed me all my life. My favorite stuffed animal was a seal named Seabert, who became my best friend and good-luck charm in a childhood spent among doctors, hospitals, and therapists.

I have always been drawn to the ocean. For most of my life I intended to become a marine biologist, and although my physical limitations prevented me from realizing that dream, I am an environmentalist, and much of my poetry is inspired by nature–especially the sea.

Jessica’s Final Comment

Terrific questions! Very thought-provoking.

 

Jessica, I want to share another powerful poem from your book.

This is one of my personal  favorites in the collection.  I can only say to our readers,

“PLEASE BUY JESSICA’S BOOK.” I promise, you will love it!

 ____________________

December Rain

 

Through the rain-streaked windows

the Christmas lights are a gleaming

blur. The colors stretch and streak,

lighting the sodden trees with their

 

festive glow. They resemble flashing

tropical fish swimming in the blind

eye of the windowpane. The water-

darkened trees resemble me, tilted,

 

twisted, bent, their fallen leaves

stretching like frightened animals.

A row of lightning scars the sky,

flashing like neon and fading in an

 

instant, a metallic crow’s caw in the

blackness of the storm-darkened sky.

____________________

Jessica Goody’s Contacts on Social Media

E-mail: PinnipedPerson@aol.com

Book Title: Defense Mechanisms: Poems on Life, Loss, and Love

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.goody.58

Award-winning author of Defense Mechanisms

Available now on Amazon:  www.JessicaGoody.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Seabert1521

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jessicagoody58/

mazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Defense-Mechanisms-Jessica-Goody/dp/0985147776/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1481762643&sr=8-5&keywords=jessica+goody

Phosphene Publishing: http://www.phosphenepublishing.com/goody-jessica

____________________

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright July 21, 2018. All rights reserved.

Saturday is for Sharing, a series of Guest Authors & Artists

Presented by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner.  Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg. Miss Opal has a sister-cat named Miss Bessie. The two were rescued from Southern Ohio along with their mother, Miss Effie Pearl, and their 2 brothers, Diamond and Peachy Keen.

 

Lynda is married to Bob Lambert and the couple have 5 grown children.  These days, Bob & Lynda share their home with 2 rescued dogs;  Miss Mitchell and Miss Dixie Tulip. In addition to the 2 cats, they also care for any number of feral cats who may drop by for food & shelter eacy day. Lynda is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities, and she is a fiber artist and author.  she holds 3 degrees:  BFA and MFA in painting;  MA in English. Lynda is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. She writes and makes art in her River Road Studio. Lynda lost her sight in 2007 due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy.

Lynda is the author of 2 published books:

Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage Buy it!

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems Buy it!

 

Lynda just completed her 3rd book

Star Signs: New & Selected Poems – 60 poems

AND her FIRST CHAPBOOK

first snow, 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme.

Both new books  are now available for publication. Editors, please contact Lynda for the manuscript.

 

~Thank you for visiting with us today~

Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

Contact:  Lynda & Miss Opal at: riverwoman@zoominternet.net

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I’m In a January “State of Mind”



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The “January State of Mind”

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I am still thinking about January, and the promises of the New Year.

How about you?

Here’s what I need to ask: Are you feeling like something is wrong?

Do you feel stretched in two different directions this month? I am feeling like I am two different persons. One is the public image, the go-getter,  high achiever, the bold and fearless persona that operates in tandem with my name.  Yet, you seldom see the other “me” and  she is timid, quiet, private, nervous, aloof, fearful at times, and not always much of a group person or high achiever. The deeper question now is,  Am I experiencing duality? January IS on my mind! It’s  something deep and spiritual unfolding in my life, now that I am thinking about it.

Have you peered back into some of your previous  January entries in your  journals?

You know, I mean,  the ones you wrote in past years? Did you look back to some of your earlier notes or reflections and see them fresh today as you take a look from the vantage point of distance?  I am standing here, today in January 2015?

Oh, I have to tell you, I have been looking at mine!  So NOW, I am  wondering if those little writings I jotted down in times of yore  are giving me insight into this present January State of Mind –

I am feeling this  circular dance of duality every day. There’s something hidden deep inside of me that feels restless, uncertain, and hesitant, in spite of all my INTENTIONS. That is because I have looked back, while I was looking forward at 2015.

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Perhaps I can learn some things I need to know, gain wisdom, or reconnect with something spectacular I missed when I was too close to it!

**

Prior to approximately 700 BCE  the ancient Romans named the 10 months in their year after the gods. They had only ten months in their year, and did not have the two months we know as January (Januarius) and February (Februarius).  These two  were added to the Roman year circa  700 BCE.  January was named after the Roman god, Janus. Blog_2015_JanuaryJanusStatue

Unlike our calendar today, January was not the first month of the Roman year until after Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, changed the sequence of the months into the twelve month calendar.  Because and odd number was considered to be “lucky” the king changed the number of days in several months from even numbers, to odd numbers.   Long after this change from a ten month to a twelve month calendar, the Emperor Julius Caesar, would make additional changes. After 46 BCE, February was designaed to be a “Leap Year” and other changes were made. Instead of the “Roman Calendar,” it was now called the “Julian Calendar.

 Blog_2015_JanuaryJanus_TwoTalking_sculpture

Maybe the dual feelings I am having on this first month of the year is because it is named in honor of Janus.  This god is the one who guards and controls gates and doorways. To me, that indicates passages. When I sit down to write out my intentions or goals for the new year, I am thinking of January as a doorway or gate into a new beginning with fresh, exciting expectations.  My list of intentions for the new year are indicators that I plan on some type of travel, or passage, from one place to another in the year ahead.  Go ahead, look over your own resolutions for the year, and think about it.  Are you, too, planning a passage this year? When I look back over the years, I see I was always thinking of a passage from one place, left behind, to the new place, just ahead of me.

***

January is the festival month for Janus.  He stands in the doorway.  But, the problem is that Janus has two FACES. While he looks forward through the doorway, to the passage ahead, the other face of Janus looks backwards. Here is the dual message that we encounter!

Blog_2015_JanuaryJanus_Round

While we WANT to go forward, another part of us looks backwards. I seem to step right into Janus’ vision myself. I look forward, make my intentions into a path for the new year. But, what I feel rumbling inside of my being, is the reminders of a backwards step at the same time. Well, this is something we don’t really talk about, do we!  So, I was thinking about this all week. Why don’t we recognize, or put into language, what we really feel and think in January, every year?

Is it because the noisy crowd drowns out our inner life and our inner feelings, our intuition, and our internal voice as they shout out  “Happy New Year?”  We have been told this is the time for our expectations to be declared and realized – yet, there is that other side of Janus, in our mind.  As we ride the CREST of JANUARY,  the crest of the new year, we have expectations for what we believe the new year holds  for us.  Those are the things we talk about with others.

***

The  “inner critic” voice reminds us of past failures, deflated expectations, short-comings, blunders, and more. That is the other side of Janus! Oh, we fail to understand this side, and we sure don’t want to be talking about it to anyone. We have to keep up the smile. We have to keep up the talk and the walk.  We have to…..you fill in the blanks here.

It does not  take much of a leap to see the self-centered, secular expectations of our contemporary culture.  The  “New Year” resolutions madness can literally paralyse any thing creative, inspired, spiritual, artistic, resourceful, inventive, imaginative, intuitive, innovative, and productive on the inside of us.  The Janus mask is carefully in place for so many people who will never experience inner peace and joy because they are running so fast in a direction that will lead them to emptiness, after all.

But here’s the dichotomy of it.  Stop and be quiet for a little while. Maybe get up early tomorrow morning, when the house is still. Spend fifteen minutes in silence. Keep your thoughts focused on getting in touch with your purpose in life. Your Creator will be there and in your time of silence, He will reveal his purposes for you.  During the day, you’ll remember your time with Him today, and you’ll gently feel his presence and guidance. It’s not about what we want to do, it’s about what we want to do with Him!  Our contemporary American culture tells us to be determined to do what we want to do, and to push our way to the top of whatever we decide to do.  The voices, loud and demanding, tell us how strong we are,  how we can do anything we want to do.  We are told to call ourselves powerful and smart. Oh, but wait a minute!  Stop for a moment; listen for the gentle whisper… He speaks in a “still small voice.”  Listen. He whispers to us; he speaks about  who we are, for real.

As individuals with faith in God, we can  look forward with expectations that are grounded in God’s divine purpose for our life.

***

What a difference a year makes in our life!

I recommend a look back because it is wholesome for us to do.  History bears fruit, you know.  We bear fruit as we discipline our mind to study history.  Our life, our personal story, is like a display in a gallery. It’s all put out there to view, and if we are careful and thoughtful when we look it all over, we’ll find some gems as well as some clinkers.  Both are good for us to consider because they all show us the path we have been on, and help us make decisions for the future.  What to embrace? What to avoid?

***

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Copyright, 2015. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All Rights Reserved.

Additional Insight:

http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/pagandaymonth/

A History of the Months / Days and the Meanings of their Names

http://www.janus.umd.edu/