Daily Prompt–Origin Story-Wrapping up year one with the Brainiacs

Yes, I saved everything.

Fan Letter text by Jaye Circa 1978, Art by Steve Smith.

On August 26, it will be one year since I wrote my first post on Jaye’s Brain. I was moved to sit at the keyboard that day by an episode of Anderson Cooper’s show highlighting the movie “Bully.” My post was called Bullies On The Bus and it felt really good to write it, to be writing again. I had a good report from the neurosurgeon. I had fully mourned the loss of my job, a job I held for nine years, a personal best. Best of all, I was going to be a Nana.

After a year of blogging it is clear to me the kinds of writing I do NOT want to do. Example: Book reviews. Not my skill. I often love a book so much I want to buy each one of you a copy. The last book I read was The Astronaut Wives Club, by Lily Koppel. I enjoyed the content but found it stylistically lacking. There. That’s my review. See what I mean?

Movie reviews fall into the same category. I tried with Hyde Park on Hudson (here). Effusively loving stuff has been an issue with me since the beginning of time. The illustration above is from a review I wrote of a Billy Joel concert for the college newspaper (1978) with my head shown as the actual fan. A college friend summed it up last year when she wrote: “No offense, Jaye, but you love everything.”

A few posts that are personal favorites.  Memory of Michael  continues to get a reworking now and again. My ride up the escalator stands out in my memory and garnered the most comments. The adoption category yields the occasional “a ha moment” but not always for the same reasons.

I own a tote bag of filled up steno pads. Yes, I took steno, because I thought writing  faster would help me get my words down on paper. I thought it might make me a better newspaper reporter (The Evening Independent , one of “the 25 jobs,” kinda proved otherwise).

The tote bag serves as a constant reminder: words only get on paper if you put them there.

I acquired that tote bag in 1977. It is grimy and beige and bears a logo I know longer recognize. I dragged it through three apartments, three houses and the brief stint where I lived out of a shopping cart. The words have always been with me, and some of them still speak to me. I hope a few more of them will still speak to some of you.

I had a lot of misconceptions about blogging. I had people tell me what blogging was and wasn’t.  I knew enough about myself to know I wouldn’t keep at it if nobody read, and I understood on some basic level that blogging was a community. Perhaps that is something that has to be experienced; I know a daughter tried to tell me more than once but I just wouldn’t listen.

During the year I have learned that “fans” are likely to be found at the most unusual junctions. The effort to be “mostly truthful” remains, always, a challenge. Not the truth telling part, but when to let you know I am  being silly or sarcastic. Poetic license people!

Finally, I never refer to myself as “cancer-free”- but with 5 years of  “no significant change” and a discharge from the oncologist, I am grateful to require the simple annual MRI. It is time to re-focus the blog, which is not a living thing but feels like it from time to time. I have cherished the company of the “brainiacs” (other brain cancer  bloggers) who have laughed and cried with me, mourned with me and encouraged me to create Jayes Brain.

So as each day becomes 8 1/2 minutes shorter (didn’t we just have Memorial day?), I will be open for suggestions for a new tagline. Expect more poems, more stories where the names are changed to protect the guilty, perhaps a little fiction. Less reminiscence? I wouldn’t count on it.




New Poetry Series 2013

English: Barnes & Noble's flagship store at 10...

English: Barnes & Noble’s flagship store at 105 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.   Observations:  Barnes and Noble, Union Square

New York City

7:24 p.m.
Audience, restless.
Free admission garnering the usual suspects:

Folks without $7 for the open-mic down the street

Seniors, one hand on their sacred city map, the other vice-gripped to a hand-carved totem

The post-AA meeting crowd, crowded around the coffeepot

The stoners

Lovers of free poetry with the munchies, a winning combo for the bookstore.

Hummus crusty ridge ‘round the edge as the evening wears on
In walks a guy in father’s hand-made dress chapeau,
The Latin Mass woven into the fabric of the hatband.
(What this means won’t be clear if you’re too young: rejoice in this!).
Finally the guy with the hat gets up, pages in hand.
Your ass is already smarting from the posture-defeating folding seats
You wonder if there is a bar nearby. But you stay:
Readings like this are on the endangered species list. You and a few historians with no interest in poetry (or snacks)   come to see archaeology in the making
In the end, you see a woman, closer to 60 than 40, sign a fan’s book
You note her fake name and real mustache