(Note: I have not had time to write to this blog lately due to dealing with a plumbing catastrophe in my home last week that caused extensive damage.)
I don’t usually share creative stuff that I write, but I wanted to share a poem that I wrote recently. Because it’s so close and personal to me, I’m still not ready to share “Journey to the Sea,” but I do want to share with you “Remember Me, A Nod to Edgar.” This poem was written as a response to Poe’s “A Dream Within A Dream.” Poe’s poem is in the public domain and can be found in several places on the internet as well as in numerous anthologies of poetry. For that reason, I’m not going to post the original poem here, but I am going to share my response. I like it enough that I think I will let it be the conclusion for my upcoming book. It was a really fun piece for me to write, and I wrote it in the form of a poetic response to Edgar Allen Poe. When I wrote this, I imagined that I was having a conversation with Poe and responding to his original poem.
“A Dream Within A Dream” is very special to me because it was the poem that I chose to recite for my therapist during my time of speech and auditory rehabilitation. I first learned of it and read it while I was in college. It’s quite different from the much darker style of writing that readers of Poe’s works are accustomed to. What does my response to Poe’s poem mean? Well, I obviously know what it means, but it’s ultimately up to you to figure it out. Leave a response below at the end of this blog entry if you wish!
“Remember Me, A Nod To Edgar”
As you stand amid the roar
And you watch the surf torment the shore,
Remember me, as the warm wind blows
As the evening sun sets and brings this journey to a close.
I’ve held the many grains of golden sand, and I weep
Because I’ve watched them creep, oh how they creep.
I’ve grasped the golden grains in my fingers, but yet they seep;
And they still slip away, so far far away to the deep.
And when you hear the waves come crashing ashore,
Think of me and grasp your own golden grains once more.
Hold them closely while you can, so tightly in the palm of your hand,
For they will soon slip away; they are but mere grains of golden sand.
O God! Can we not grasp them with a tighter clasp?
O God! Can we not save one from the pitiless wave?
But alas, we can’t for it has been deemed
That everything that we see or seem,
Is nothing more than a dream within a dream.
Yes, Edgar, I too have seen the surf tormented shore.
Yes, Edgar, I too have heard the sea’s mighty roar.
It sometimes seems that hope has flown away
Perhaps in the night, or in the day.
Perhaps it is true, for it so oft does seem
That my days have been nothing but an unreal dream.
So just remember me, as the warm wind will blow.
Life is just a dream, and where it leads one cannot know.
(A Response to E.A. Poe’s “A Dream Within a Dream”)
“But you know, I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with saints. Heroism and sanctity really don’t appeal to me, I imagine. What interests me is being a man.”
~Albert Camus, The Plague ~
Genuine… We most often hear this word used in the context when a company wishes to assert a product, or perhaps promote a service as being authentic or real. I was recently reminded of this word when my mother, Denise, and I were going to a quick, impromptu lunch at my aunt’s house before helping her clean out a very nasty storage shed crammed with decades of junk. We stopped on the way, and my mother bought a bottle of GENUINE Faygo soda pop as part of our contribution to the lunch. For those of you who aren’t from the south, Faygo is a particular brand of soda that has existed for just about as long as I can remember. Based on my research, it has existed for much longer than I have been alive, since the early 1900’s it seems. Since I grew up drinking Faygo, I was certainly surprised to see the word GENUINE written at the top of the bottle. While I understand that this is only a marketing strategy devised by the good folks at Faygo, I was a little taken aback. In fact, I was left wondering: “Faygo is a lesser known brand, so why go out of the way to make sure buyers know it’s GENUINE. Is there any drink out there pretending to be Faygo?” I will admit that I was slightly amused since we really don’t drink soda at all anymore, and I hadn’t seen or tasted a Faygo soda in at least several years. It just took me by surprise and had me sort of wondering why Faygo felt the need to assure me that I was purchasing a GENUINE product of theirs.
Last year, I bought a top of the line Brother multi-function machine for our home office. This beast of a machine has multiple paper trays, a built in fax machine, and it can print, scan, copy and fax with duplex capability up to ledger size (11X17) paper format.
It really is the Cadillac ® of printers as far as features go. It has features that I have yet to discover and use. When I was un-boxing this printer last year (and it took both Denise and me to lift it out of the box), I noticed there was a sticker on the front of the machine that identified the model numbers of the ink cartridges. At the very top of this sticker, the good people at Brother strongly encouraged users to “use only GENUINE Brother supplies for best results.”
A number of years ago, I had another, much smaller, Brother printer. One day I was shopping for ink on EBay, and noticed that I could get 20 generic ink cartridges for only $10!! Imagine my astonishment and disbelief that I had somehow found such a smoking hot deal. I quickly ordered the knock-off cartridges and gave myself a well deserved pat on the shoulder for being so thrifty. When the cartridges came in, I noticed that they would not work when put in the printer. They were DUDS. I must have gone through five different cartridges before I found one that successfully worked with the printer. And all the while, ink was leaking and dripping on my hands. It was a terrible mess. Well, in my quest to save money and use knock off cartridges from E-Bay, I ultimately ended up ruining my printer. You see, those NON-GENUINE cartridges leaked everywhere to the point where they ruined the print head in the printer. The cartridges looked like GENUINE Brother Cartridges, and for all intents and purposes were certainly designed to work with my particular printer. But these fake, knock-off cartridges were trying to deliver a performance that didn’t quite go as promised, and they were pretending to be something that they could never be. You see, they weren’t GENUINE, and they failed miserably, leaving me with a ruined printer. On a side note, I learned my lesson the hard way. I have never used anything but GENUINE Brother cartridges in my new and very expensive multi-function machine. I order all my printing supplies from www.bluedogink.com, a great place to buy just about any type of printer ink or toner that you could possibly need. No, the people at www. bluedogink.com didn’t pay me for giving them a shameless plug, and I don’t get any special discounts on products ordered; but I’ve had such great service from this company that I thought I’d give them a shout-out. Their prices are lower than buying from a big name store. Anyway, the bottle of GENUINE Faygo soda that I was telling you about earlier got to me to thinking this past week. And in my random musings, I started thinking about something that is really important to me: GENUINE people.
For the sake of clarity, let’s examine how Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines the word genuine :
:actual, real or true: not false or fake
:sincere and honest
- A: actually having the reputed or apparent qualities or character
- B: actually produced by or proceeding from the alleged source or author
With this definition, we gain an idea of what the word GENUINE actually means. If I buy a GENUINE part for my car, I’m supposed to be purchasing something that is real and not an imitation or knock off of the true item. If I purchase a bottle of GENUINE Coca-Cola ®, I should be drinking the original beverage with its undeniable taste, and not a bottle of nastiness such as Kroger’s BIG-K Cola. There is a difference! A couple of years ago, the oxygen sensor failed on my car. I purchased an after-market part from Autozone and installed it on a Friday. By Monday, it had failed again, leaving me with a check engine light that once again illuminated on my dashboard. I returned it and went to the automobile dealership’s parts counter and purchased an original GENUINE oxygen sensor. Guess what. It cost nearly twice as much as the aftermarket unit, but it’s still functioning almost 5 years later!
So, having said all of that, this brings me to the main point of what I want to talk about. GENUINE people. If we take Webster’s meaning of the word GENUINE, and literally apply it, we can figure out that a GENUINE person is one who is real and true, not false and fake. A GENUINE person is one who is also sincere and honest. I really do love the quote by Camus that I’ve shared at the top of this blog entry. “I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with saints.” The same goes for me. I feel more drawn to those people who really know who they are and have no qualms about admitting it.
Sadly, we live and function in a me-centric society. In the digital era of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, people are more concerned than ever with constantly making themselves look perfect for society and making sure that they conform to society’s expectations. Perfect people don’t exist. I’m sorry, but they just don’t. Even those who appear to always have it together, rarely if ever do. You see, we as human beings are inherently flawed creatures in many ways. I often tell those who know me that I’m the least perfect person that you could possibly meet. I’m not the smartest, the fastest, the best looking, the richest, or the most personable. Sometimes, I’m not even the nicest, the friendliest, or the most outgoing person either. But I try to be GENUINE, caring, and compassionate. I try to be real and honest. You see, I can’t possibly pretend to be anyone else than who I am. If someone doesn’t like me for who I really am, then that’s just too bad. There’s nothing I can do about it. There’s a song called “I Can Only Be Me” written by Stevie Wonder that was recorded by the late and great Eva Cassidy. It’s a beautiful song, and it talks about how I can only be me, and you can only be you. Those who really and truly know me know that I don’t hide anything. I am often known for being brutally honest and usually tell it like it is. I don’t sugarcoat anything.
There’s a saying out there that I know is absolutely true. John C. Maxwell states:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”
This next week, I challenge you to be GENUINE with those you meet. People don’t care how much you know or about empty promises that you can’t possibly hope to fulfill. What they want to know is how much you care and if you’re really who you say you are. Don’t be like the fake ink cartridges I once ordered and promise something that you can’t possibly deliver. Don’t be like the aftermarket oxygen sensor I once bought and flake out after the weekend is over. Don’t try to be someone that you can’t possibly ever be. Just be real and just be you. Life’s too short for anything less. I don’t believe in re-incarnation, so that means that we pretty much only have one chance in this lifetime to get it right. And the only way you will get it right is by being GENUINE.
Much love and Godspeed,