Last Friday's post about Questions produced a few queries I can actually answer. Let's start with the life-after-death thread readers carried forward.
”How do you feel when you read a posting like the one above? I’m rolling my eyes! I’m pretty sure you might not answer - and I understand.”
The “posting like the one above” Gail references is a story from Andrea Bonette about a supernatural experience of her father's. There was a mini-backlash from two or three other readers labeling Gail's comment rude.
I don't see it that way. She made her point and asked a question. Me? I've never experienced communication with a dead person and I don't spend a lot of time with events that cannot be proved.
The point of such stories, of course, is the hope that there is life after death, that we - our individual consciousness - survive in some recognizable form after we die. Generally, I don't believe that. Everyone else should believe whatever they like.
Adie van der Veen asked,
”Do you think back to the time you took a psilocybin trip? It made such an impact on you, especially around your fear of death. Do the memories help? Would you consider taking another trip...?”
What my “magic mushroom” trip in December 2017 did was allow me to feel, to a degree I had never felt before, one with the universe. Recently, reading physicist Alan Lightman's Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, I realized his description of a transcendent experience describes my own better than I ever have – not literally, but certainly in spirit.
”After a few minutes, my world had dissolved into that star-littered sky. The boat disappeared. My body disappeared. And I found myself falling into infinity.”
“...I felt connected not only to the stars but to all of nature, and to the entire cosmos. I felt a merging with something far larger than myself, a grand and eternal unity, a hint of something absolute.”
“...after my experience in that boat...I understood the powerful allure of the Absolutes – ethereal things that are all encompassing, unchangeable, eternal, sacred. At the same time, and perhaps paradoxically, I remained a scientist. I remained committed to the material world.”
Like Lightman, I do not dismiss the experience but I am also fiercely connected to the material world, the measurable and provable.
Would I do it again? Certainly. But it's unlikely to happen. Working with a guide is expensive and if the experience has faded a bit, it is not gone.
MY SON AND HIS FAMILY
”Ronni, you've not mentioned your son and grandson lately. Would love to hear how they are faring through the pandemic.”
For those who don't know, about two and a half years ago, as the result of a commercial DNA test, I was contacted by the son I gave up for adoption when I was 21 years old.
He, his wife and his six-year-old son live about a 45-minute drive from my home. We speak once a week and visit now and then. They are, like most of us, sheltering at home and are doing well. In fact, my grandson just learned how to ride a bicycle - no more training wheels.
Laurel asked, “Will Elder Music continue being posted on your site, or somewhere else?”
That Sunday column is written by Peter Tibbles, my friend who lives in Melbourne, Australia. After I die, the ten-plus years of his posts will remain available on this blog but new ones will not be added because – ahem - I won't be here to post them.
Peter is thinking over if he will start a blog of music columns and you, dear readers, will be the first to know what he decides.
THE ELDERBLOGGERS LIST
Both dkzody and Elaine of Kalilily asked me to update and post the Elderbloggers List. Here is the story on that:
The Elderbloggers List is a collection of many blogs not necessarily about ageing but which are written by old people. For many years, I updated it regularly – deleting those that had disappeared from the web and adding new ones as I discovered them.
The problem now (and for the past two or three years) is that an update takes two or three or more weeks of my time. Every current link (hundreds) must be checked to see if they still exist or are still active.
New ones must be checked for literacy, interest, frequency of publishing and to eliminate any that are commercial in nature. More time. Then all the coding to make it look good and be functional.
What has happened with my diseases, accelerating in the past six months or so, is that I tire easily even without putting out much effort. So nowadays, I have about eight hours a day to accomplish everything most people (and me in the past) do in a full 16-hour day.
And, three or four times a week, I seem to need a midday lie-down for an hour. More time gone. Plus, in addition to the few useful hours I have in a day, even less gets done because I'm slower now too.
So, the Elderbloggers List saw its last update in 2005, and so it shall remain. You will find the list here and there is always a link to it under the header, Features, in the right sidebar of every page of this blog.
WRITING AND MY NAME
”I have one question. Prior to this blog did you ever write or edit in your career? I ask because you are such a good writer. Ok. I lied, maybe two. Is Veronica your birth name?
Yes, Veronica is my birth name but I have always been called Ronni. The only time my mother ever used my full first name was when I was in trouble.
Beginning in 1995, for three years I was the first managing editor of cbsnews.com. For 30-odd years before that I wrote for television news and interview programs and some documentaries which is a whole different thing from writing for print.
But writing words to be spoken by hosts and interviewers greatly improved my prose writing.
What I aim for, in addition to being as engaging as possible, is clarity and (except in certain fiction and poetry), I am intolerant of ambiguity. What I deliberately borrowed from writing for television is that the words and paragraphs sound good aloud. I always “listen” to what I'm writing and when I've done it well, people should be able to “hear” the words in their minds as they read.
If you want to improve your writing, read, read and read – good and bad. It's all useful. And that is the sum total of what I know about writing.